John Hamilton Mortimer

Monstrous Male Figure, Caliban?


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
John Hamilton Mortimer 1740–1779
Graphite and crayon on paper
Support: 175 × 112 mm
support, secondary: 240 × 165 mm
frame: 481 × 411 × 22 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

Mortimer made a number of drawings
of monsters in the 1770s. His other drawings show monsters engaged
in violent struggles. This delicate image
in chalk and pencil is more in the nature
of a character study.


During the mid-1770s Mortimer etched twelve of his own drawings as characters from Shakespeare, including Caliban
from The Tempest. Since this creature
also bears a resemblance to Caliban
it may have been a study for the character. This is quite possible since the drawing
is unfinished.


Gallery label, September 2004

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