Print

ca.1892 (drawn)

Partridge, Bernard J. Sir

Height: 45.4 cm, Width: 35.6 cm

1228-2014 T&P

Full length profile portrait showing the actor/manager Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) in the title role of King Lear by William Shakespeare. The print, taken from an original painting by Bernard J. Partridge (1861-1945), was engraved by J.C. Smith, and printed by The Gainsborough Studio, London, 1892

Full length profile portrait showing the actor/manager Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) in the title role of King Lear by William Shakespeare. The print, taken from an original painting by Bernard J. Partridge (1861-1945), was engraved by J.C. Smith, and printed by The Gainsborough Studio, London. It shows Irving seated in a chair, he is dressed in full royal robes and clasps his staff of office in his left hand.

Full length profile portrait showing the actor/manager Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) in the title role of <i>King Lear</i> by William Shakespeare. The print, taken from an original painting by Bernard J. Partridge (1861-1945), was engraved by J.C. Smith, and printed by The Gainsborough Studio, London, 1892 Irving became a professional actor in 1856, and learned his trade in regional theatres until 1866, when he came to London. He joined the Lyceum Theatre company under the management of H. L. Bateman in 1871, winning great acclaim that year for his psychologically developed characterisation of the guilt-ridden inn-keeper Mathias in Leopold Lewis’s melodrama The Bells. He took on the responsibilities of ‘actor-manager’ in 1878 when he assumed the management of the Lyceum, and remained there until 1902, enjoying star status with his leading lady Ellen Terry (1847-1928). Irving produced a diverse range of old and new plays at the Lyceum, including Shakespeare, historical drama, and literary adaptations. His tireless work to elevate the status of the theatrical profession was rewarded in 1895 when he became the first actor ever to receive a knighthood for services to the Theatre. Lear is one of the most important parts to play for any tragic actor of high standing. Irving had first discussed doing so in 1883 and eventually produced the play in 1892. Accounts of his performance vary, but many who saw the opening night felt he had badly misjudged the vocal interpretation, his voice being weak and often inaudible. Although he made adjustments to correct this, the dramatic criticism of the press was based on the first performance. Despite this, King Lear ran for 76 performances, an unprecedented achievement at the time for a play which was not popular with audiences on account of its gloomy and depressing themes.

Gabrielle Enthoven Collection

Location: In Storage

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