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Actress Sarah Smith, Mrs. Bartley (1783-1850)


Standing before a column draped with red cloth, beside a white casket.

Stump's portraits of stage celebrities, some of them in character, were numerous. He was an annual exhibitor at the Royal Academy from 1802 to 1845, sending mostly miniatures, with a few oil portraits and views. He also exhibited miniatures with the Oil and Watercolour Society during its existence from 1813 to 1820.

The sitter in this portrait shows a strong facial resemblance to a print of Sarah Smith, Mrs. Bartley by Samuel Freeman, (1773-1857), in the. - Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection. A further print in the National Gallery of Ireland shows Sarah in the role of Portia in 1813.

Sarah entered the stage at 16, she first appeared in Covent Garden in 1805. The retirement of Mrs. Siddons, 29 June 1812, left for a while the stage open to her. Two years later, however, the appearance of Miss O'Neill, with whom she was unable to cope, thwarted her hopes. In 1818, Mrs. Bartley accompanied her husband to America,where she obtained both reputation and fortune. Returning in 1820 she played in the country, and on 15 November 1823 reappeared at Covent Garden as Mrs. Beverley in the 'Gamester.' Her performances were, however, infrequent. In the character of Lady Macbeth she finally retired from the stage.

Adolphus, in his 'Recollections,' (1) speaks of her as the only actress before the appearance of Miss O'Neill to succeed Mrs. Siddons.

1. Recollections of an Actor, 1865 by Walter Alexander Donaldson
More Information
Year                 Circa 1813
Condition                 Restored water damage above the sitter's head
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