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Sir Henry Irving

7 of 116 portraits of Sir Henry Irving

Sir Henry Irving, by Carlo Pellegrini, circa 1882 - NPG 5073 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Henry Irving

by Carlo Pellegrini
watercolour, circa 1882
22 1/8 in. x 13 3/8 in. (562 mm x 340 mm)
acquired, 1976
Primary Collection
NPG 5073


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  • Carlo Pellegrini (1839-1889), 'Ape'; caricaturist. Artist associated with 143 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.

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Irving first achieved success on the London stage in the 1860s and in 1867 he played for the first time opposite Ellen Terry. This was the beginning of their famous theatrical association. Irving established his reputation as a tragedian with his Hamlet at the Lyceum in 1874 and played many Shakespearean and classic roles in a style which was both individual and controversial, and which held audiences spellbound. A great manager as well as actor, Irving organized several American and Canadian tours, received many honours, and was the first actor to be knighted. This cartoon for Vanity Fair shows him dressed as Benedick for his own production of Much Ado about Nothing (1882).

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