Sitter in 9 portraits
Tell us More
by W. & D. Downey, published by Eglington & Cocarbon print, published 1 October 1890NPG Ax9377
Benjamin Webster; May Whitty
by Alfred Elliswoodburytype, published 1 October 1895NPG x27315
by Bassano Ltdwhole-plate glass negative, 20 April 1920NPG x19314
by Bassano Ltdwhole-plate glass negative, 20 April 1920NPG x19315
by Bassano Ltdhalf-plate glass negative, 14 September 1931NPG x19391
by Bassano Ltdhalf-plate glass negative, 14 September 1931NPG x19392
by Bassano Ltdhalf-plate glass negative, 14 September 1931NPG x19393
by Bassano Ltdbromide print, 1937NPG x83537
by Bassano Ltdbromide print, July 1939NPG x83538
Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.
If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.
Please note that we cannot provide valuations.
We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.
22 August 2018, 09:16
DAME MAY WHITTY
Dame May Whitty born Mary Louse Whitty in Liverpool June 19th, 1865.
May Whitty’s grandfather, originally a journalist was Liverpool’s first Chief Constable he was also founder of the Police force and Fire Brigade in Liverpool and later founded the Liverpool Daily Post.
May Whitty made her debut in the chorus of the Mountain Sylph at the Royal Court Theatre Liverpool 1881, a year later she was on the West End. She joined the Lyceum Company under the management of Sir Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.
Her stage career was prolific
After nearly 25 years as one of the leading British stage actresses she made her first film appearance in Enoch Arden 1914.
Arguable her most well-known role was that of Miss Froy in Hitchcock’s The |Lady Vanishes 1938.
She was twice nominated for an Oscar, Night must Fall 1937 and Mrs Minerva 1942.
She was said to have retained he Liverpool humour once saying, ‘I’ve got everything that Betty Grable has- only I’ve had it longer.’
She is the first actress ever to be created a Dame for services to the Arts and services to hospital work during WW1. She did much charity work all her life saying, ‘So long as I can do my bit, I’ll keep right on doing it.’
Dame May Whitty died of cancer on 29th May 1948 at the age of 82 in Los Angeles.
A memorial plaque in St Pauls Church, Covent Garden pays homage to her and her husband. “They were a lovely and pleasant in their lives and in their death, they were not divided.”
There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.
How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.
The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.
Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.
If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.
Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.
Newsletter sign up Become a Member
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HESwitchboard: +44 (0) 20 7306 0055
Open daily 10:00-18:00Friday Lates until 21:00
About the Gallery
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE
Switchboard: +44 (0) 20 7306 0055