Lithograph of the Cushman sisters as Romeo and Juliet

Description

Cross-dressed casting of major tragic roles was not commercially viable because of the conservative nature of London audiences. However, in 1846 this changed when Charlotte Cushman, an established actor in the USA, came to London to play Romeo to her sister Susan’s Juliet. Charlotte stated that she was taking on the role to protect Susan, recently involved in a romantic scandal, from the unwanted attention of male actors. In fact, this was a ruse that allowed her to play a male role whilst at the same time upholding Victorian ideals of moral decency.

Full title:
Miss Cushman and Miss Susan Cushman in the characters of Romeo and Juliet
Published:
19th century, London
Format:
Print / Image
Creator:
Thomas Fairland [printmaker]
Copyright:
© Folger ART File C986 no.1 (size L). Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Held by
Folger Shakespeare Library
Shelfmark:
ART File C986 no.1 (size L)

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