John Opie

Portrait of a Lady in the Character of Cressida

exhibited 1800

In Tate Britain

Artist
John Opie 1761–1807
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 2337 x 1448 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by George Silk 1834
Reference
N01026

Display caption

We do not know the identity of this woman, but she is probably a celebrity or actress who contemporary viewers would have recognised. Opie was working at a time when fame was becoming an increasingly important part of artistic success. This painting appeared at the Royal Academy’s annual exhibition in 1800. Artists jostled to grab public attention, painting more flamboyant and dramatic pictures. Opie depicts his sitter as the heroine of Shakespeare’s tragedy Troilus and Cressida.

Gallery label, October 2019

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