Charles Webb; Henry Berry Webb as the Dromio Twins in 'The Comedy of Errors'

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Charles Webb; Henry Berry Webb as the Dromio Twins in 'The Comedy of Errors'

by Southwell Brothers
albumen carte-de-visite, 1864
3 1/2 in. x 2 1/4 in. (90 mm x 58 mm) image size
Acquired from Clive Holland, 1959
Photographs Collection
NPG x27313

Sittersback to top

  • Charles Webb (died 1889), Actor and manager. Sitter in 3 portraits.
  • Henry Berry Webb (1814-1867), Actor and comedian. Sitter in 3 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Southwell Brothers (active 1861-1876), Photographers. Artist or producer associated with 197 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The strong physical resemblance between the two brothers Charles (d. 1889) and Henry Webb (d. 1867) resulted in the successful London revival of Shakespeare's comedy at the Princess's Theatre in February 1864. With the play's emphasis on humour deriving from mistaken identities and slapstick, their 'angular gesticulations and grotesque appearance' also made their performance a great novelty and among their most notable. They went on to perform the roles to large audiences at the Shakespeare Tercentenary Festival later that year and at the Drury Lane Theatre (1866).

Placesback to top

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Events of 1864back to top

Current affairs

First of the Contagious Diseases Act. These acts allowed for the arrest, medical inspection and confinement of any woman suspected of being a prostitute in the port towns. Following huge public outcry over their discrimination against women, notably led by Josephine Butler, leader of the Ladies' National Association, the acts were eventually repealed.
Octavia Hill starts work on slums, and the International Working Men's Association is founded in London.

Art and science

The Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell presents his discoveries in the field of electromagnetics to the Royal Society. His paper A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field expresses the basic laws of electricity and magnetism in unified fashion. Maxwell's equations, as his rules came to be known, helped create modern physics, laying the foundation for future work in special relativity and quantum mechanics.

International

Austria and Prussia combine forces to seize Schleswig-Holstein from Denmark.
Britain cedes Corfu, acquired from France in the Second Treaty of Paris (1815) to Greece. Although Britain had vigorously suppressed an uprising in 1849 in Cephalonia aiming to restore Iolian islands, the government changed policy throughout the 1850s and 60s.

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