Elizabeth Bannister (née Harpur)

1 portrait

Elizabeth Bannister (née Harpur), by John Russell, 1799 - NPG 1770 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth Bannister (née Harpur)

by John Russell
pastel, 1799
24 1/4 in. x 18 1/4 in. (616 mm x 464 mm)
Bequeathed by the sitter's great-granddaughter, Grace Hilda Bannister, 1916
Primary Collection
NPG 1770


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Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • John Russell (1745-1806), Portrait painter and pastellist. Artist associated with 102 portraits, Sitter associated with 6 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Like her husband John 'Jack' Bannister, the actress and singer Elizabeth Bannister, née Harper, excelled in comic roles. In this portrait by Russell she is depicted singing and playing the guitar. Bannister was often called upon to sing in her acting roles including that of Olivia in Twelfth Night and that of The Lady in Comus. It is uncertain as to whether this portrait is intended to depict her as a particular character. Painted seven years after her retirement from the stage it is likely to be a nostalgic celebration of her talent and fame.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 1769: John Bannister (companion portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Perry, Gill (introduction) Roach, Joseph (appreciation) and West, Shearer (appreciation), The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 2011 to 8 January 2012), p. 90
  • Piper, David, The English Face, 1992, p. 187
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 33
  • Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 20

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top