Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Figure of the Day: Fanny Kemble, 1840

Fanny Kemble
Staffordshire, 1840
The Victoria & Albert Museum

As I’ve mentioned before, the earliest Staffordshire earthenware flatbacks depicted Queen Victoria. The popularity of these Royal portraits gave rise to portraits of notable public figures, often celebrated entertainers and actors.

This Staffordshire flatback depicts the actress Fanny Kemble and is based on an 1829 engraving by Richard J. Lane, after a drawing by Sir Thomas Lawrence. Frances “Fanny” Anne Kemble (1809-1893) was the daughter of the famed actors Maria and Charles Kemble and one of the long acting dynasty which had dominated the British stage since the late Eighteenth Century. 

Fanny made her debut on stage at the age of nineteen as “Juliet” at the Covent Garden Theatre. She found fame both in England and in the U.S. where she was married to a Philadelphia businessman.

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