A Passion For Performance: Sarah Siddons and Her by Shearer West, Mark Leonard, Robyn Asleson, Shelley Bennett

By Shearer West, Mark Leonard, Robyn Asleson, Shelley Bennett

Popular for her majestic good looks and impassioned performances, the English actress Sarah Siddons (1755-1831) revolutionized the aesthetics of eighteenth-century theater whereas inventing a posh public character to advertise her repute. Her aptitude for self-presentation was once matched through the showmanship of the numerous artists who portrayed her. the following 3 vigorous essays--by Robyn Asleson, Shelley Bennett, Mark Leonard, and Shearer West--explore Siddons's lifestyles and occupation, in addition to her relationships with a few artists. extraordinary between them was once Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose masterpiece Sarah Siddons because the Tragic Muse turned an icon of this nice actress on the height of her profession. This lavish quantity additionally brings jointly fifty-five different pics of Siddons together with works by way of Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney, Thomas Lawrence, and Gilbert Stuart.

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Extra info for A Passion For Performance: Sarah Siddons and Her Portraitists

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York: Wilson, Spence, and Mawman, l795)> 2= 8. Boaden, Memoirs of Siddons, I: 32; P. P. , The Complete Works of William Ha4itt, 21 vols. , Thraliana, 2: 715. , I: 214 — 26. Boaden, Memoirs of Siddons, 2: 133Fuseli's study of Siddons as Lady Constance was sold at Sotheby's on 3 April 1996, lot 2O. On Siddons's androgynous dress as Rosalind, see Boaden, Memoirs of Siddons, 2= 166. Early in her career, Siddons was well known for her portrayal of Hamlet on the provincial circuit, and she performed male Shakespearean characters again in public readings after her retirement.

Shows Siddons as Lady Macbeth, sharing a horse with Burke and Charles James Fox and riding freely toward perdition. The juxtaposition of these three figures indicates the extent to which Siddons was associated with the aesthetics and politics of her own time. While Figure 2,1. " In lateeighteenth-century theatrical criticism, "picturesque" was used synonymously with the opprobrious word "pantomime" to suggest that the visual effect of the acting took precedence over the content of the play. 73 Certainly Kemble was known for exploiting visual effect on the Figure 2,0.

Melpomene [Mrs. Siddons], 1784. ). London, The British Museum. sexual license. For a start, there was much speculation about her relationship with her husband, William, exacerbated after 1804 when the two decided to live apart. 87 Meanwhile, there were rumors that she had adulterous longings, first for Thomas Lawrence, then for a fencing master who went by the name of Galindo. As she was middle-aged by the time of her separation and these alleged romantic liaisons, it is possible that the titillating activities of younger actresses held more interest for a scandal-hungry public than the sexual indiscretions of a more mature woman with an established reputation.

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