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.

Transcript