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Drawings: G0002


Frances Abington


Other work on paper




Height: 24cm
Width: 20cm

Other materials

Black and white chalks on buff laid paper; oval


"R West delt"


Charles Mathews

Other number

Mathews 340
RW 548B (unknown sitter by unknown artist)
CKA 548B.

Exhibition history

1833 London, Queen's Bazaar, Oxford Street, "Mr Mathews's Gallery of Theatrical Portraits" (340)

Frances Abington, nee Barton was the daughter of a Shoemaker and made a living selling flowers and as a servant to a milliner’s before she joined Drury lane in 1756. During her first years as an actress she was used only occasionally and so seeking better roles and a higher wage she left for the Smock-Alley Theatre, Dublin in December 1759. Here she found much success and she quickly became popular with theatre goers, before returning after five years to London and Drury Lane.
This chalk and pastel portrait of Frances Abington is signed by Robert West. Little is known of Robert West, except that he was a student in Paris in 1733 and trained under Boucher and Van Loo. He then returned to Ireland and established a Drawing School, of which he was first a teacher and then Director. This portrait of Frances Abington was probably created, by West during the years of 1759 and 1765 when Frances was living and working in the city.
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