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Charles John Kean

Charles John Kean, by Rose Myra Drummond, circa 1838 -NPG 2524 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Charles John Kean

by Rose Myra Drummond
circa 1838
12 1/4 in. x 10 1/4 in. (311 mm x 260 mm)
NPG 2524

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed on the back: Chas. Kean/on his first appearance/on the stage as Douglas/Drawn by Miss Drummond

This portraitback to top

In spite of the inscription, this drawing shows Kean as an older man than he was in 1827, when he first played in 'Douglas' as Young Norval (not as Douglas) at Drury Lane, aged sixteen. Providing that the inscription is not wholly erroneous, it is probably the work of one of the Misses Drummond, all five of whom were painters. The head in this drawing is very similar to a painting of Kean as Hamlet in the collection of S. Sandra in 1929, which may be the portrait by Miss R. M. Drummond exhibited RA 1838 (299). If this is so, then the NPG drawing would be a study for her 1838 portrait of Kean as Hamlet, which would agree well on grounds of age. This drawing has in the past been taken for the work of Miss Eliza Drummond, but it is not clear why. A water-colour or miniature of Kean as Sir Edward Mortimer by Miss F. Ellen Drummond was exhibited RA, 1839 (1025).

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, black hair. Background colour bluish-grey.

Provenanceback to top

Harley Granville Barker, presented by him, 1932.

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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