Sir Henry Irving

1 portrait of Sir Henry Irving

Sir Henry Irving, by Carlo Pellegrini, 1883 - NPG 5073 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Henry Irving

by Carlo Pellegrini
chromolithograph on paper, 1883
22 in. x 13 1/4 in. (560 mm x 336 mm) overall
acquired, 1976
Primary Collection
NPG 5073


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  • Carlo Pellegrini (1839-1889), 'Ape'; caricaturist. Artist associated with 482 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

This portraitback to top

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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Current affairs

Following the Secret Ballot Act (1872), the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act was a further measure introduced by Gladstone's government with the intention of limiting bribery and intimidation in elections. Candidates' expenses were published, and a strict limit set on expenses, and it also enabled poorer candidates to stand for parliament.

Art and science

The Royal College of Music founded in London, with the British musicologist George Grove as its first director. Monet moves to Giverny, a village along the Seine, where he lives until his death in 1926. Renting a farmhouse he later buys, Monet designs a pond, redesigns the garden, and begins to paint some of his most recognisable images of water lilies, flower beds and the Japanese footbridge.

International

The Brooklyn Bridge opens in New York, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, stretching 1825 metres over the East River. One of the oldest suspension bridges in America, it was the largest in the world upon completion. Designed by the John Augustus Roebling's engineering firm, the bridge is built from limestone, granite and Rosendale natural cement, in gothic style.

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