Portia : The Merchant of Venice
Watercolour on ivory
"signed ‘G. A.’ (lower right)
Bought by Richard Bebb from John Hall, Harrington Road, South Kensington
In this half-length portrait the sitter wears a red robe and hat, and she holds the edges of the robe at her chest.
Lily Brayton first acted Portia on tour in Australia in 1909. Her first appearance in London was as Alice in “Henry V” with Benson’s company at the Lyceum on 15 February 1900.
She played a number of Shakespearean roles during her London career, including Helena, Katharine, Desdemona, Rosalind and Cleopatra. On 31 August 1916 at His Majesty’s Theatre she created the role of Zahrat-al-Kulub in the enormously popular “Chu-Chin-Chow”, by the actor-manager Oscar Asche with music by Frederick Norton, which ran for 2238 performances. She was married to Oscar Asche and then to Dr Douglas Chalmers Watson.