Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: Mrs. Nisbett as Zarah, c. 1842

Mrs. Nisbett as "Zarah"
T.H. Jones
The Harry Beard Collection at:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This hand-colored engraving, based on a drawing by T.H. Jones, depicts mid-Nineteenth Century actress Mrs. Nisbett in the title role of Zarah, as performed at the Queens Theatre around 1842. The actress is show in her famous costume of an off-the-shoulder white blouse beneath a three-quarter-length green, spiral-patterned gown in the sack-back style which is worn over a scarlet petticoat with a black-edged hem. Her green bloomers are scandalously visible as are her strapped sandals.

Heavy, gold jewelry defines the costume—dangling earrings, an impressive belt, rings and bracelets. A scarf of crimson and black comprises her headdress.

A caption below the image reads:

“(Zarah) Hark to the cry of their days - already have they opened on the scent of blood."

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