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John Lawrence Toole as Fanfaronde in 'Belphegor the Mountebank'

2 of 38 portraits of John Lawrence Toole

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John Lawrence Toole as Fanfaronde in 'Belphegor the Mountebank'

by Herbert Watkins
Albumen print, late 1850s
7 1/2 in. x 5 5/8 in. (191 mm x 143 mm)
NPG P301(160)

This portraitback to top

This is one of two photographs of the sitter in stage costume included in (George) Herbert Watkins’s album. Toole’s part here is unidentified; possible roles include Fanfaronde in Belphegor the Mountebank, which opened in April 1856, and Autolycus in a burlesque piece named Perdita, or the Royal Milkmaid, which played with Belphegor at the Lyceum Theatre London in September 1856. As the costume shown here does not accord with that in a loose engraving of Toole as Autolycus (see ‘All known portraits, In stage character, Perdita, or the Royal Milkmaid’) it seems likely that this role is that of Fanfaronde. As performers normally provided their own costumes, photographs do not necessarily date from the same season as the productions.

Another print, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, S.139:527-2007, shows Toole in the same costume, minus feather, and leaning slightly to right (see ‘All known portraits, In stage character, Belphegor the Mountebank).

Dr Jan Marsh

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length standing, to front, arms akimbo, wearing fantastical costume, hat and stage moustache.

View all known portraits for John Lawrence Toole