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This portrait shows the acclaimed actor Mary Ann Yates (1728¿–¿1787) as Mandane, a character in Arthur Murphy’s tragedy The Orphan of China 1759. Yates is shown raising her hands in a way that would indicate she is speaking. Her vividly coloured costume presumably corresponds with her stage outfit. Yates found fame in the role, which she took up from the opening performance at David Garrick’s Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, London in 1759. The play was revived at the same theatre in 1764, with a special performance ‘For the Benefit of Mrs Yates’.

February 2016