Ellen Terry & The Aesthetes
Ellen Terry & Henry Irving’ s contribution to West End Theatre - an illustrated talk with Frances Hughes
Promoted by the Irving Society
Born in 1847 and receiving no formal schooling, Ellen Terry became Britain’s finest Shakespearean actress and numbered amongst her friends great artists, authors and poets of her time. Tennyson, Shaw and Barrie wrote plays for her, Oscar Wilde wrote her sonnets and George Frederick Watts (her first husband) and John Singer Sargent were amongst the major artists who placed her on canvas. Elle Terry was Sir John Gielgud’s great-aunt. She became a Dame of the British Empire in 1925.
Above all, Terry had a professional and personal partnership with Sir Henry Irving at the Lyceum and many other West End theatres, where Burne Jones and Alma-Tadema designed sets and Sir Arthur Sullivan composed and conducted. Terry and Irving’s story is intrinsically linked to the story of London West End Theatres
Frances Hughes is a free-lance lecturer in Art & Theatre History. She has lectured for NADFAS for 20 years and also at the NPG, VAM Theatre Collection and the London Centre for Theatre Studies. She is Chairman of the Irving Society and Irving Foundation and the paintings tour guide at the Garrick Club.