Seeking sitter identity, ‘Portrait of an Actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company’, 1811

Portrait of an Actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company, 1811, attributed to Henry William Pickersgill R.A.

Portrait of an Actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company, 1811, attributed to Henry William Pickersgill R.A.

This portrait of an unnamed actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company is dated 1811 and attributed to Henry William Pickersgill R.A.

The inscription on the old labelon reverse of the present portrait refers to an actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Co.¹

The sitter is presumably one of the company of Regency actors under the stage management of the actor/manager John Philip Kemble in 1811. The present sitter shows a very strong resemblance with large forehead and strong jaw to Charles Farley who was in the Covent Garden troupe with his Timour the Tartar, May 1811, aged 40 (see engraving below). More investigation is needed to confirm if our sitter is a young Charles Farley or another actor in the troupe of 1811.

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  1. Oil on cradled panel, 17½ x 14½ in, frame 23 x 20 in. Indistinctly inscribed on remnants of old label verso ‘?Portrait of Master…of Covent …Theatre. Painted by …Pickersgill. Exhibited at London 1811?’. The panel, sometime ago cradled, is impressed with the stamp ‘G. Morrill’. George Morrill (c.1812-1865) was a picture restorer who worked extensively for the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Collections and other prominent collectors.

Portrait of an Actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company, 1811, attributed to Henry William Pickersgill R.A. Verso

Portrait of an Actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company, 1811, attributed to Henry William Pickersgill R.A. Verso

Portrait of an Actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company, 1811, attributed to Henry William Pickersgill R.A. Verso detail

Portrait of an Actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company, 1811, attributed to Henry William Pickersgill R.A. Verso detail

Charles Farley as Cloten in 'Cymbeline' by Thomas Woolnoth, published by Simpkin and Marshall, after Thomas Charles Wageman, stipple engraving, published 1821. NPG D38673. © National Portrait Gallery, London

Charles Farley as Cloten in ‘Cymbeline’ by Thomas Woolnoth, published by Simpkin and Marshall, after Thomas Charles Wageman, stipple engraving, published 1821. NPG D38673. © National Portrait Gallery, London

Portrait of an Actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company, 1811, attributed to Henry William Pickersgill R.A.

Portrait of an Actor of the Covent Garden Theatre Company, 1811, attributed to Henry William Pickersgill R.A.

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