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Paintings: G0818

Title

Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree

Technique

Watercolour

Subject

Character

Svengali : Trilby

Artist

Dimensions

Height: 39.1cm
Width: 21.6cm

Other materials

Watercolour on dark grey wove paper

Inscription/signature

"A / MORROW" (red paint b. l.)

Provenance

R. R. M. See, by whom presented to the Garrick Club,1919

Other number

CKA 582
Gift 383

Svengali is shown almost in caricature, with a demonic stare and long, dark grey hair.
Potter's adaptation of Du Maurier's novel was first performed at the Theatre Royal, Manchester, on 7 September 1895. It moved into the Haymarket on 30 October 1895 and ran for 254 performances, in which Tree played Svengali and Dorothea Baird played Trilby. An anonymous American version had previously opened at the Novelty Theatre on 20 July 1895, with Trant Fisher as Svengali and V. St. Lawrence as Trilby, but had an unimpressive run of only six performances. That version was probably the one that Tree had seen in Philadelphia, which inspired him to commission Potter to adapt the novel. Svengali became his best known role. There was a brief revival of seven performances at Her Majesty's on 7 June 1897, with Tree and Dorothea Baird. The money made out of the first run of the play provided the initial funds for the building of Her Majesty's.
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