published by William Heinemann, after Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson
lithographic reproduction of a hand-coloured woodcut, published 1899 (1897)
10 1/8 in. x 9 7/8 in. (258 mm x 251 mm) paper size
acquired Unknown source, 1980
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Sitterback to top
- Sarah Henriette Rosine Bernhardt (1844-1923), Actress. Sitter associated with 35 portraits.
Artistsback to top
This portraitback to top
Nicholson began work on this portrait before the French actress arrived in London in June 1897, for the start of her season at the Adelphi Theatre. He used a photograph published in January of that year as a basis for the composition, emphasising the triangular shape of her fastened cape and lending an angularity to her form, which is effectively silhouetted against the stage curtain. Although by the late 1890s Bernhardt's career was beginning to decline, the artist captures the enduring nature of her fame as she confidently tilts her head and stretches out her arms to bow to her audience.