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Gertrude Lawrence possibly as the Muse of Comedy

1 of 87 portraits of Gertrude Lawrence

Gertrude Lawrence possibly as the Muse of Comedy

by Madame Yevonde
Vivex colour print, July 1936
14 5/8 in. x 11 3/8 in. (373 mm x 290 mm)
Given by Madame Yevonde, 1971
Primary Collection
NPG P871(2)

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Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Madame Yevonde (1893-1975), Photographer. Artist associated with 319 portraits, Sitter in 8 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This portrait of the actress and singer Gertrude Lawrence has previously been accepted by the title inscribed on the reverse as (Thalia), Muse of Comedy. Her attributes or symbols usually include a comic mask, a shepherd's staff or a wreath of ivy none of which appear here thus inspiring doubt about its correct identification. Lawrence's portrait however is reproduced in Yevonde's 1940 autobiography as the Muse of Lyric Poetry . In Greek mythology she is Euterpe and usually holds a flute.. Another Yevonde portrait of Lady Ratendone holding a flute fits this description, though she also wears a daisy garland also seen in Lawrence's portrait. So possibly like Arethusa, Yevonde may have created two portraits of Euterpe or could this portrait represent another of the nine muses, namely Erato, muse of love poetry whose lyre has been replaced by a guitar?

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Gibson, Robert; Roberts, Pam, Madame Yevonde: Colour, Fantasy & Myth, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 July - 1 October 1990), p. 84
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 368

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top