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Adelina Patti as Martha in 'Martha'

11 of 55 portraits of Adelina Patti

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Adelina Patti as Martha in 'Martha'

by Camille Silvy
albumen carte-de-visite, July 1861
3 1/4 in. x 2 1/8 in. (82 mm x 54 mm)
Given by M. Hutchinson, 1965
Photographs Collection
NPG x12680

Sitterback to top

  • Adelina Patti (1843-1919), Singer; sister of Carlotta Patti. Sitter associated with 55 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Camille Silvy (1834-1910), Photographer. Artist associated with 11280 portraits, Sitter in 24 portraits.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG Ax59128: Adelina Patti in costume for six different roles (includes the portrait)
  • NPG x193206: Adelina Patti as Violetta in 'La Traviata'; as Lucia in 'Lucia de Lammermoor'; as herself; as Martha in 'Martha'; as Zerlina in 'Don Juan' (includes the portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 61 Read entry

    The Italian opera singer Patti, the last of the line of great coloratura sopranos, made her London debut on 14 May 1861 at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent Garden as Amina in Bellini's La Sonnambula, and from that time, as Lucia (x12677), Violetta (?x12679), Zerlina, Martha (x12680), Leonora (x21724) in II Trovatore, and above all as Rosina (Ax25072) in The Barber of Seville, she delighted audiences throughout Europe and in North and South America. Her public career lasted nearly sixty years, and is virtually without parallel.

    The French aristocrat Silvy came to London at about the same time as Patti, and rapidly established himself as one of the most fashionable of portrait photographers, with a studio at 38 Porchester Terrace, noted for its elegant furnishings and range of elaborate painted back-drops. Several of these are seen in his photographs of Patti, taken, no doubt with an eye to publicity, shortly after her sensational debut, and illustrating the range of her roles, and her considerable charm.

    In addition to many individual prints by Silvy, the Gallery also owns the photographer's Day Books, which contain some 10,000 prints, and which constitute a unique record of London society of the day.

Placesback to top

Events of 1861back to top

Current affairs

Death of Prince Albert, from typhoid fever. Queen Victoria goes into a long period of mourning, withdrawing from public duties, and becomes known by the satirical title 'Widow of Windsor'.

Art and science

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management is published by her husband Sidney, who successfully maintained the Beeton brand after his wife's early death seven years later. The highly popular book, containing recipes and advice for housekeeping, appealed to the Victorian belief that a woman's role was managing the home.
Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company is founded, marking the start of the arts and crafts movement.

International

The American civil war begins after the Confederate army attacks Union forces at Fort Sumter in April. The Confederates, comprised of eleven southern states who seceded from the Union over the right to independence on issues such as abolition, are presided over by Jefferson Davis, formerly senator of Mississippi. Although the Union had early successes, the Confederates' victory at Bull Run sets the Union up for a long, four-year war.

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