Sarah Siddons

After John Downman


This 19th century miniature portrait is an accomplished copy of John Downman’s watercolour portrait of the actress Sarah Siddons, the original having been commissioned in 1787 by the 3rd Duke of Richmond to add to his collection of portraits of contemporary beauties.

Sarah is shown against a stormy cloud backdrop wearing a white dress with narrow sleeves and a van-dyked neck line with a puffed-out fichu, her powdered curls topped with a voluminous cap trimmed with coloured ribbons. The portrait is in fine condition and is set in an attractive gold-plated frame with a seed pearl surround and bail. The frame has a couple of dings to the reverse side but is otherwise fine.

Born in Wales in 1755, Sarah Kemble’s family had long associations with the theatre world but, although her father managed the Warwickshire Company of Comedians, acting was not seen as a respectable career for their daughter. Following a brief stint as a lady’s maid, Sarah married William Siddons, an actor, and so found her entrĂ©e into acting. She was best known for her tragic roles, her most feted being that of Lady Macbeth.

APHA Ivory Reg.: 1T1DH97B

Item Ref. 7476

Size: framed, 92 x 75mm + bail