untitled (Hamlet)

manufacturer: unknown;  after: Thomas Lawrence (b.1769, d.1830);  publisher: John Tallis & Co (English, estab. circa 1836, closed 1851); 

Post 1852
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Object Detail

untitled figure of Hamlet, standing. Hamlet is holding a skull. Known as a Tallis Figure. The pose was copied from an engraving published in Tallis's Shakespeare Gallery 1852-1853.

Possibly, “this shows the actor-manager John Philip Kemble (1757-1823) as Hamlet, the part in which he first made his name on the stage in Dublin in 1782. The Kemble family dominated the theatrical world in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and when John Philip Kemble made his London debut as Hamlet in September 1783, his sister Sarah Siddons was already regarded as one of the greatest tragedians ever.

The pose was copied from a contemporary engraving published in Tallis's Shakespeare Gallery, 1852-1853, after a painting by Lawrence. At least seven earthenware portrait figurines are known to have been copied from engravings in Tallis's Shakespeare Gallery, known as 'Tallis figures'. They were made in many sizes and are thought to have been made by the Burslem potters Thomas Parr (who was working from 1852 until 1870), John Parr (who worked from 1870 to 1879), or the Kent & Parr firm (who worked from 1880 until 1894). These manufacturers passed the moulds to each other and the figures were produced throughout the Victorian period.”

Source V&A Museum S.1022-1996
Maker and role
manufacturer: unknown
after: Thomas Lawrence (b.1769, d.1830)
publisher: John Tallis & Co (English, estab. circa 1836, closed 1851)
Production place
Staffordshire potteries district, Staffordshire, England
Production date
Post 1852
circa 1840
Media description
earthenware, glazed
205 mm
Measurement details
height: 205mm
Credit line
gift of TJC Ambassador, Mr Andrew Dixon, Melbourne
Project credit line
This digital record has been made available on TJC Collection Online through a significant donation from the OPENING DOORS fund, the generous support of The Friends of The Johnston Collection, and Digitisation Champion Christine Bell
Accession number