Daniel Maclise

Scene from ‘Twelfth Night’ (‘Malvolio and the Countess’)

exhibited 1840

Oil paint on canvas
Support: 737 x 1245 mm
Presented by Robert Vernon 1847

Display caption

This picture shows an incident in Act 3 scene 4 of William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night. Malvolio is a pompous steward in the household of the rich Countess Olivia. Fed up with his behaviour, his colleagues trick him into believing that Olivia is in love with him. A forged letter in Olivia's name leads Malvolio to think that it is his yellow cross-gartered stockings which particularly attract her to him. Thus dressed, Malvolio's ridiculous appearance and behaviour while he attempts to court Olivia in her garden leads to him being imprisoned as a madman.

Gallery label, November 2001


Work of the week: Scene from 'Twelfth Night' ('Malvolio and the Countess') by Daniel Maclise

As the day the Christmas decorations have to come down, Twelfth Night has become rather a sad day.  I tend ...