Albert A. Harcourt, Henry Irving Character Portrait - 1873 watercolour painting

An original 1873 watercolour painting, Albert A. Harcourt Henry Irving Character Portrait.

An expertly rendered watercolour painting of the celebrated Victorian actor Henry Irving in his Mattias character from 'The Bells'. One of his most well known characters, 'The Bells' opened at the Lyceum Theatre in London in November 1871 and ran for 151 performances. Irving was dedicated to the role and often reprised it in later showings - it was the last performance he gave the night before his death in 1905. 

Initialled and dated lower right.  Inscribed verso: 'Henry Irving as 'Matthias' in 'Bells' 1873'. 
Some minor foxing and light overall age toning as shown. Small paper loss to the lower centre edge. Otherwise, in good condition.
11.6cm x 7.7cm.

Albert A. Harcourt, of South Belgravia, London, clearly took a very keen interest in some of the visual spectacles that were available to him, as a late Victorian gentleman-about-town. Many of the studies in this collection depict the characters in popular plays and operettas that were on the London stage during the period, and a particular taste for the French-themed productions that were fashionable at the time, with their elaborate costumes.

Ships were clearly another of Harcourt’s interests: many different types of sailing vessel are depicted in the sketchbook, again with a real eye for detail. Finally, though an address in Belgravia would certainly have been convenient for visiting London’s theatres, Harcourt appears to have been extremely well travelled. One sketch of a ship in our collection is described as being made ‘off Cape Horn,’ while other works depict Native Americans, apparently in the United States. Other, later sketchbooks by Harcourt exist showing the various types of people to be found in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe). Wherever he went, it seems, Harcourt was fascinated by variations in dress and appearance, and the means of travel around the world.

Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JJ-055

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