Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Dame Ellen Terry, Dame Madge Kendal
Oil on canvas
Falstaff : The Merry Wives of Windsor
Mrs Page : The Merry Wives of Windsor
Mrs Ford : The Merry Wives of Windsor
height (frame): 220cm
width (frame): 260cm
"John Collier / 1904" (dark brown paint b. l.)
Presented by 100 members, 1919
1904 London, R. A. (470)
Collier shows the comic climax of the play, in Act III, scene 3, when the Merry Wives wreak their revenge on the libidinous Falstaff for attempting to woo them both at the same time. Mistress Ford is entertaining Falstaff when Mistress Page enters to warn her that her husband is on his way home. Falstaff is bundled into the buck basket, (seen bottom right), and is carried out by the servants to be dumped in the muddy ditch at Datchet Mead on the Thames. Mistress Page (Ellen Terry) stands on the left, her chin and left hand resting on Falstaff's shoulder. She wears a flat red cap, a long red sleeveless overgown, and a long-sleeved white underdress embroidered in black. Falstaff (Tree) wears brown boots with paler brown tops, fawn gauntlets, brown breeches, a brown tunic, and a broad brown belt with a brass buckle. Mistress Ford (Madge Kendal) has red hair. She wears a horned headdress with a white whimple, a long-sleeved green-blue dress with a floral design, and a long red cloak with a gold pattern, edged in gold.
Tree presented “The Merry Wives of Windsor” at His Majesty's in 1902 as his contribution to the glittering Coronation season. It was a typically lavish Tree production, with scenery by W. Telbin, Walter Johnstone, and Hawes Craven, and costumes designed by Percy Anderson. The incidental music was by Sir Arthur Sullivan, Raymond Roze, and Norman Bath. Tree achieved the diplomatic coup of having Ellen Terry and Madge Kendal together on the same stage after Oscar Ashe suggested the idea as a joke. This highly successful production opened on 2 June 1902.
Sir Herbert, who was half-brother to Max Beerbohm, became a member of the Garrick Club in 1884.