John Singer Sargent Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth 1889

Artwork details

Artist
John Singer Sargent 1856–1925
Title
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
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Sir Joseph Duveen 1906
Reference
N02053
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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