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Paintings: G0253


David Garrick, Hannah Pritchard


Oil on canvas



Macbeth : Macbeth
Lady Macbeth : Macbeth



Height: 102cm
Width: 127.5cm
height (frame): 128cm
width (frame): 154cm


Charles Mathews

Other number

Mathews 57
RW/CKA 386

Exhibition history

1833 London, Queen's Bazaar, Oxford Street, "Mr Mathews's Gallery of Theatrical Portraits" (57) 1951 London, Tate Gallery, "Pictures from the Garrick Club" (47) 1961 Nottingham [?] (16), in catalogue but not loaned 1964 London, Guildhall Art Gallery, "Shakespeare and the Theatre" (15) 1997 London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, "Dramatic Art Theatrical Paintings from the Garrick Club" (2) 1992-93 Tokyo Japan, Isetan Museum of Art "Shakespeare in Western Art, c.1750-c.1910" (11), then touring to Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Mito Kintetsu Museum of Art Nara Takamatsu City Museum of Art 2003 Ferrara, Italy, Palazzo dei Diamanti and London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, "Shakespeare in Art" (34)

Related works

Baroda Museum, oil on canvas 101.6 x 127 Engr: Valentine Green pub. J. Boydell 30 March 1776, mezzotint 42.5 x 55.4, when owned by George Keate


Patmore p. 263; Anthony Vaughan "Born to Please" (1979), p. 50; Fitzgerald pp. 154-57; Griffiths pp. 209-1; (Ed.) Jane Martineau and Desmond Shaw Taylor "Shakespeare in Art" [to accompany the exhibition "Shakespeare in Art" London, Dulwich Art Gallery 2003] pp128-9

Mathews identifies the moment of Zoffany's picture at the point (Act II, scene 2) when Macbeth says "Look out again, I dare not," and Lady Macbeth replies "Infirm of purpose! / Give me the daggers." Macbeth's hands are stained with blood. He wears black shoes, white stockings, red breeches, a blue-green collarless coat edged with a broad band of gold braid and gold buttons, and a red waistcoat trimmed with gold braid. The costume for Macbeth in the 18th century was traditionally a Windsor uniform, but Garrick's costume seems rather lavish for military garb. Lady Macbeth, holding the daggers, wears a purple silk dress trimmed with ermine over a white silk petticoat, a purple silk bodice, and a yellow shawl with silver stripes.
According to Arthur Murphy in “The Life of David Garrick” (1801), Garrick returned from the murder of Duncan looking "like a ghastly spectacle, and his complexion grew whiter every moment." The “Connoisseur” of 1 September 1754 suggested that this effect was achieved by the actor wiping off his make-up before he reappeared on stage after the murder. The first time Garrick played Macbeth he returned from the murder with his coat and waistcoat unbuttoned. He is supposed never to have repeated this device, although his jacket is certainly unbuttoned in Zoffany's picture. In his “Dramatic Miscellanies” (1784), Thomas Davies gave a good description of the moment depicted by Zoffany:
“The representation of this terrible part of the play, by Garrick and Mrs. Pritchard, can no more be described than I believe it can be equalled. I will not separate these performers, for the merits of both were transcendent. His distraction of mind, and agonizing horrors were finely contrasted by her seeming apathy, tranquility, and confidence. The beginning of the scene… was conducted in terrifying whispers. Their looks and actions supplied the place of words. You heard what they spoke, but you learned more from the agitation of the mind displayed in their action and deportment. The dark colouring given by the actor to these abrupt speeches, makes the scene awful and tremendous to the auditors. The wonderful expression of heartful terror, which Garrick felt when he shewed his bloody hands, can only be conceived and described by those who saw him!”
See also K. A. Burnim, “David Garrick, Director”, pp. 113-16.
Garrick played Macbeth for the first time at Drury Lane on 7 January 1744. He restored a great deal more of the original text than is found in the version by William Davenant then in general use. Hannah Pritchard played Lady Macbeth for the first time on 13 April 1744, but in Davenant's version and at Covent Garden. She finally played opposite Garrick in his version on 19 March 1748, and their joint performance continued to be one of the glories of the London stage for the next twenty years. Mrs Pritchard played the part for her farewell performance on 24 April 1768.
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