Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mrs. Abington as Thalia

Engraver:
Francesco Bartolozzi (Italian, Florence 1728–1815 Lisbon)
Artist:
After Richard Cosway (British, Oakford, Devon 1742–1821 London)
Publisher:
Simon Watts (British, active London 1767–87)
Sitter:
Frances Abington (British, 1737–1815 London)
Subject:
William Shakespeare (British, Stratford-upon-Avon 1564–1616 Stratford-upon-Avon)
Date:
August 20, 1783
Medium:
Stipple engraving and etching, printed in brown ink; first state of seven
Dimensions:
image: 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 in. (23.5 x 18.4 cm) sheet: 17 1/16 x 8 3/8 in. (43.3 x 21.3 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917
Accession Number:
17.3.1199
Not on view
Beauty and talent propelled Fanny Barton (later Mrs. Abington) to fame, from humble beginnings as a flower girl and milliner's assistant. Associated with the Drury Lane Theatre, she excelled in contemporary comic roles by Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Colley Cibber and, in Shakespeare's plays, performed Ophelia, Desdemona, Beatrice and Portia. Horace Walpole compared her favorably to Garrick, and the artist James Northcote noted that, "in her acting she has all the simplicity of nature and not the least tincture of the theatrical." In this image she embodies Thalia, the muse of music, dance, comedy and idyllic poetry, to crown Shakespeare with laurels.
Inscription: Inscribed in plate below image: "R-d. Cosway R.A. Delin-t."; "F. Bartolozzi Sculp."; "Pub-d. 20. Aug-st. 1783. by S. Watts No. 3 Featherstone Buildings"
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund; Donor: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund
De Vesme & Calabi 1036 i/vii; O'Donoghue I.6.4; Tuer 1617
Andrew White Tuer Bartolozzi and his works : a biographical and descriptive account of the life and career of Francesco Bartolozzi, R.A.. 1881, cat. no. 1617.

Freeman O'Donoghue Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. vols. 1-5, London, 1908–22, vol. I, p.6, no. 4.

Alexandre de Vesme, Augusto Calabi Francesco Bartolozzi. Catalogue des estampes et notice biographique d'après les manuscrits de A. De Vesme entièrement réformés et complétés d'une étude critique par A. Calabi, Milan, Guido Modiano. Milan, 1928, cat. no. 1036 i/vii, p. 268.



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