Portrait of Sarah Siddons as Lady Macbeth by George Henry Harlow, 1814

Description

Sarah Siddons (1755–1831) was one of the greatest actors of her day. Particularly renowned for tragedy, she was the first woman ever to play Hamlet, but was best-loved in her portrayal of Lady Macbeth. Here she is depicted in the sleepwalking scene. In 1785, Siddons caused a great commotion by placing the candle on the ground during this scene. London theatre-goers were very conservative and not holding the candle throughout the whole scene was a radical departure from tradition, which occasioned a detailed account in the national press. Such was Siddons’ popularity however that putting the candle down became the new tradition.

Full title:
Portrait of Sarah Siddons as Lady Macbeth
Created:
1814
Format:
Painting / Image
Creator:
George Henry Harlow
Copyright:
© Garrick Club
Usage terms

© The Garrick Club

Held by
Garrick Club

Related articles

John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery (1789-1805)

Article by:
Alice Rylance-Watson

Alice Rylance-Watson tells the story of a late-18th century art venture, the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, which occasioned some of the most beautiful and iconic paintings of Shakespearean scenes. She discusses the relationship between commerce and fine art, and outlines the important role Boydell's enterprise played in the rise of British bardolatry.

Shakespeare and madness

Article by:
Will Tosh
Theme:
Interpretations of ‘madness’

Will Tosh examines early modern attitudes towards madness, and how these informed Shakespeare's varied depictions of mental illness in Hamlet, King Lear and other plays.

Witches in Macbeth

Article by:
Diane Purkiss
Themes:
Tragedies, Magic, illusion and the supernatural

Diane Purkiss discusses Renaissance beliefs about witches and shows how, in Macbeth, Shakespeare blurs the line between the witches and Lady Macbeth.

Related collection items

Related works

Macbeth

Created by: William Shakespeare

The tragedy Macbeth is set in medieval Scotland. Three witches in a storm plan to meet Macbeth, a warrior and Thane, ...