Pallas Athene : Ulysses
Watercolour on vellum
‘D. Garner’ (signed b. r. ); ‘Miss Constance Collier as / “Athene”/ in Ulysses/ Dress designed by Mr Percy Anderson / Painted by Miss Dorothy Garner / 1904’ (backing of frame)
Bought by Richard Bebb in Portobello Road, c.1968
Constance Collier stands half-length, in profile to right. She wears a classical robe and a red-crested helmet, and holds a spear. She first acted Pallas Athene at Her Majesty’s Theatre on 1 February 1902, with Herbert Beerbohm Tree in the title role.
This fine and well-regarded actress made her debut in London at the Criterion on 22 July 1893 in the chorus of “La Fille de Madame Angot”. She enjoyed a long and busy career into the 1940s, performing in London and New York, and in films. Among her dozens of roles were Portia in “Julius Caesar” and “The Merchant of Venice”, Viola in “Twelfth Night”, the title role in “Trilby”, and Cleopatra in “Antony and Cleopatra”. She later became a drama coach in Hollywood, and appeared in Hitchcock’s “Rope”. In 1929 she published her autobiography, “Harlequinade”.