John Singer Sargent
Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth 1889

Artwork details

John Singer Sargent 1856–1925
Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth
Date 1889
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2210 x 1143 mm
frame: 2500 x 1434 x 105 mm
Acquisition Presented by Sir Joseph Duveen 1906
Not on display

Display caption

The famous actress, Dame Ellen Terry (1847-1928), is shown here in the role of Lady Macbeth. At the first performance in 1888, Sargent was struck by Terry's appearance and persuaded her to sit for a portrait. He invented her dramatic pose, which did not occur in the production. Oscar Wilde, who saw Terry's arrival at Sargent's Chelsea studio, remarked, 'The street that on a wet and dreary morning has vouchsafed the vision of Lady Macbeth in full regalia magnificently seated in a four-wheeler can never again be as other streets: it must always be full of wonderful possibilities.'

August 2004

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