Folger call number: Use item's call number to search Digital Image Collection (direct link to come)
Folger holdings ID: 336232
Title devised by cataloger. Attribution from pencil note beneath image Artist: There were two pictures of Lady Macbeth executed by Westall for the Boydell Gallery. The other work pictures Lady Macbeth in Act I, Sc. 5, standing front, clutching a letter. This portrayal varies greatly from the artist's picture of Lady Macbeth in the sleepwalking scene. The I,5 picture presents an ominous strong presence and is painted in a grand style, whereas the sleepwalking picture is less powerful and not as well developed stylistically. (The I,5 painting has been noted as a portrait of Sarah Siddons in the character of Lady Macbeth, see Harv. cat.) History: Design was engraved by W.C. Wilson and published by John & Josiah Boydell, as part of their Shakespearean Gallery, Sept. 29, 1799 as Macbeth. Act 5. Scene 1. Doctor of Physick, a Waiting Gentlewoman, & Lady Macbeth. Drawings vary from engraving in detail, particularly in the facial features of the Doctor of Physic and the gentlewoman seen in back right. A drawing seemingly identical to these 2 but measuring 9 7/8 x 7 1/8 in and signed R.W. 1799 is housed in the Ashmolean Museum (Brown cat., no. 1871). The Ashmolean catalog makes note of an identical drawing, signed and dated 1797 in the V & A (Dyce bequest, 912). Another pen and wash design of the same scene, attributed to Westall, is listed in the Nottingham University Art Gallery exhibit catalog for Shakespeare in art (1961), item no. 46. (Drawing is noted as 'Lent by Christopher Fry') For a copy of the engraving see ART Vol. b55, vol.15 (after p.82) Subject: Depicts Act V, Sc. 1 of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth sleepwalking. Lady Macbeth is pictured standing in a white gown, slightly left of center, to right, her arms stretched in front of her, in the motion of rubbing her hands. The Doctor of Physic and gentlewoman are standing back right, looking at Lady Macbeth. The design has sometimes been described as depicting Sarah Siddons in the role of Lady Macbeth (Friedman. Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery. 1976, p. 190). Friedman, whose work attempts to trace the present location of all the paintings done for the Boydell Gallery, was unable to locate a painting of this design. The engraving after this design is in the small Boydell format - see engraving Similar in depiction to another drawing at the Folger Shakespeare Library, though they vary slightly in detail and coloring and in size (ART Box W522 no.2 shows less detail in the faces of the doctor and gentlewoman, and the key in the left hand of the gentlewoman is less clearly delineated. This other drawing measures 10 1/8 x 7 3/8 in. and is initialed R.W., dated 1797 in the lower right corner. On verso of mounting paper, upper left corner, is the signature H.V. [or B] Brooke Esq.) Also available as a digital reproduction Purchased by the Folgers, through Pearson, from the June 8, 1903 Sotheby auction of 'An important collection ... entirely relating to the English Drama', item no. 334 in the sale catalog. Catalog lists the item as 'Siddons (Mrs.) as Lady Macbeth.'
Exhibited: The Kemble Family: A Theatrical Dynasty, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., April 11, 1985-October 28, 1985
Also known as
Alternate titles: Lady Macbeth walking in her sleep
depiction: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616
depiction: Gruoch, Queen, consort of Macbeth, King of Scotland