"Off, off, you lendings–Come unbutton here" (Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4)

Various artists/makers

Not on view

In one of a series of engravings Boydell published to reproduce paintings displayed in the Shakespeare Gallery, King Lear has been driven out by his daughters and is buffeted by a storm on a heath. As the king displays his unsettled mind by tearing off his clothes, the Duke of Kent begs him to take shelter. Edgar, another outcast disguised as Tom O'Bedlam, sits at lower right near the Fool. Completing the group, the Duke of Gloucester raises a torch against the darkness. The American born painter West made his name in England painting neoclassical subjects admired by George III, together with heroic modern histories, but here uses a swirling baroque mode suited to a subject that contemporaries would have seen as echoing the madness that afflicted their own king from 1788.

"Off, off, you lendings–Come unbutton here" (Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4), William Sharp (British, London 1749–1824 London), Etching and engraving

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