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‘Nor is the figure a mere theatrical portrait’: Exhibiting and Reproducing...

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Paul Mellon Centre

16 Bedford Square

London

WC1B 3JA

United Kingdom

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Research Lunch by Tessa Kilgarriff

In 1849, the artist Daniel Maclise started painting a full-length portrait of the actor William Charles Macready as the character Werner in Byron’s play of the same name. The portrait was commissioned by a mutual friend of Maclise and Macready, the literary critic John Forster, and was intended to commemorate the actor’s celebrated career upon his retirement. Once completed C.W. Sharpe was employed to engrave the portrait, and Maclise came up with an inventive plan to drum up subscriptions to cover the costs of the engraving: the portrait would be sent on the circuit of Macready’s farewell tour around England and Scotland.

Tessa Kilgarriff is Curatorial Fellow at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village and a collaborative PhD candidate at the University of Bristol and the National Portrait Gallery. Her doctoral project focuses on the production and dissemination of printed, painted and photographic theatrical portraiture in London, c.1820-1870. In 2016, she curated a display related to her thesis entitled Reproducing Fame: Printmakers and the Nineteenth-Century Stage (NPG). Her research has been supported by a visiting scholar award at the Yale Center for British Art, and fellowships at Harvard University’s Houghton Library and the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.

Image credit: 'Macready as Werner', Daniel Maclise, 1849-1850 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Paul Mellon Centre

16 Bedford Square

London

WC1B 3JA

United Kingdom

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