William Farren the Elder
Oil on canvas
The Earl of Chester : England Preserv'd
height (frame): 85cm
width (frame): 72cm
Thomas Harris (?); Farren family; bequeathed to the Garrick Club by Miss Florence Helen Farren, 1921 (as a portrait of William Farren by Zoffany)
CKA 182 (no character)
1951 London, Tate Gallery, "Pictures from the Garrick Club" (16)
1982-83 London, R. A. "Royal Opera House Retrospective 1732-1982" (133)
"The Morning Herald" 23 April 1795; Hayes, 1968 (reproduced)
Farren seems to be holding a pistol to his chest. He wears a yellow tunic. Around his neck is a pale green ribbon with jewel. He has a dark blue cloak.
This picture was not in the Harris sale of 1819. There seems to be no doubt about the identity of the sitter, but the character is a problem. It was incorrectly identified as Carlos in Colley Cibber's “Love Makes a Man; or, The Fop's Fortune” for the 1982-83 Royal Opera House exhibition; the costume in that play would not have been historical. Farren played two new parts in the final months of his career in the spring of 1795, shortly before this picture was mentioned in the “Morning Herald”: the Earl of Chester in George Watson's “England Preserv'd” and Edward III in “Windsor Castle”. The Earl of Chester seems a likely subject for this painting.