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Charles John Kean

1 of 28 portraits of Charles John Kean

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Charles John Kean

by Samuel John Stump
circa 1830
49 3/4 in. x 39 3/4 in. (1264 mm x 1010 mm)
NPG 1249

Inscriptionback to top

Apparently signed on the arm of the chair (lower left, now no longer visible): S J Stump

This portraitback to top

This portrait represents Kean as Sir Edward Mortimer in George Colman's 'The Iron Chest', act I, scene III, which he first played at the Haymarket on 12 October 1829. [1] Another painting of Kean by Stump (as Hamlet) was sold at Christie's, 21 November 1952 (lot 157), exhibited RA, 1838 (727). Another portrait was exhibited RA, 1844 (718), and a miniature is in the Guildhall Art Gallery; this last portrait does not apparently show Kean in character.

Footnotesback to top

1) Information kindly communicated by Raymond Mander, 1954.

Physical descriptionback to top

Healthy complexion, brown eyes, very dark brown hair. Dressed in a white lace collar, orange-red sash, black and gold over-garment, with lace cuffs and slashed sleeves showing red satin. Green sword belt embellished with red stones, dagger with gilt handle and red sheath. Seated in a red and gilt armchair. Left arm resting on a table with a multi-coloured patterned cloth, silver inkwell, quill pen and white paper. Deep red curtain covers most of background, except for a glimpse of dark grey sky at left.

Provenanceback to top

F. T. Sabin, purchased from him, 1900.

Exhibitionsback to top

Possibly the portrait exhibited RA, 1831 (701), 'Portrait of Mr Kean, jun.'.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Ormond, Early Victorian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1973, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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