Called Anne Bracegirdle
Oil on canvas
height (frame): 146cm
width (frame): 121cm
127x103 lining canvas
RW 400 (artist unknown)
CKA 400 (called Anne Bracegirdle, perhaps by Thomas Bardwell)
1833 London, Queen's Bazaar, Oxford Street, "Mr Mathews's Gallery of Theatrical Portraits" (47)
Fitzgerald, p223; Griffiths, pp.229-30
The sitter wears a blue velvet panniered dress with separate bodice and long sleeves with scalloped lace cuffs. She has a jewel in her hair, from which spouts a black plume.
It is unclear why Mathews should have thought that this was a portrait of Anne Bracegirdle. It shows a lady in masquerade costume and dates from about 1750. This crude piece of work is not really good enough for Thomas Bardwell, who painted a good portrait of David Garrick as Richard III in 1742 (in the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, Bournemouth).
One of the most splendid tragic actresses of her day, Anne Bracegirdle was regarded as a handsome and tantalising woman, who excelled as Statira in Lee's “The Rival Queens”, Lady Anne in “Richard III”, Desdemona and Ophelia. She also played such comic roles as Araminta in Congreve's “The Old Bachelor” and Millamant in “The Way of the World”.