Sir Thomas Lawrence

John Philip Kemble as Hamlet

1801

In Tate Britain

Artist
Sir Thomas Lawrence 1769–1830
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 3061 x 1981 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by King William IV 1836
Reference
N00142

Display caption

Kemble was one of the most successful English actors of his time. This painting shows him in the starring role of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It was one of four large canvases that Lawrence painted of Kemble in various dramatic roles.
All four works were exhibited at the Royal Academy. Their size meant that they could be been seen above the heads of the crowd. This was a strategy often used by artists to make sure they gained the attention of the press.

Gallery label, July 2019

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