Lady Macbeth (Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 5)

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Westall's image centers on Lady Macbeth steeling herself to support the murder of Duncan, king of Scotland. It was conceived for John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, launched in 1786 as a publishing-cum-exhibition scheme that included a new illustrated edition of the plays, sets of large and small engravings, and a gallery on London's Pall Mall. The latter opened in 1789 with thirty-four paintings and contained about one hundred and seventy works the time Boydell went bankrupt and auctioned the contents in 1805–his print sales plummeted when Napoleon blocaded European ports. The impression belongs to an American reissue of 1852 spearheaded by Shearjashub Spooner, a New York dental surgeon, writer and art scholar who acquired Boydell's heavily worn plates and had them reworked. Printed on thick cream colored paper, the New York edition added small numbers in the lower left margin, this being number 47.

Lady Macbeth (Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 5), James Parker (British, London 1750–1805 London), Etching and engraving

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