Get our free email newsletter with just one click

New home for Kemble painting in National Portrait Gallery

by -

The National Portrait Gallery is to permanently house a painting of 19th century English actor John Philip Kemble.

The painting – titled John Philip Kemble as Cato – was the last of four full-length portraits of the actor to be painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

It shows the actor in the role of Cato in Joseph Addison’s play of the same name, which was staged in 1811 at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.

The painting has been acquired by the gallery for a net price of £178,500, after tax concessions by private treaty sale, negotiated by independent fine arts agent Joseph Friedman.

It was purchased with help from gift aid visitor ticket donations, gallery supporters and a grant of £55,000 from the UK largest independent art charity the Art Fund.

The portrait – which will be among the highlights of the forthcoming Lawrence exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2010 – joins two others on public view in London, Kemble as Hamlet at Tate Britain and Kemble as Coriolanus at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.