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Boydell’s Vision

The Shakespeare Gallery in the 18th Century

Sat 19 March 2016

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Boydell’s Vision

Created in conjunction with Shakespeare in Art: Tempests, Tyrants and Tragedy, this new exhibition traces the history of John Boydell’s famous Shakespeare Gallery which opened in 1789 on London’s Pall Mall. The Shakespeare Gallery was the first thematic public exhibition of its time and also the first devoted to the Bard.

Using Shakespeare as a vehicle for the development of a national school of history painting, the print publisher John Boydell commissioned prominent painters, sculptors and printmakers of the day, including George Romney, Henry Fuseli and James Northcote, to produce works depicting scenes from
all of Shakespeare’s plays.

Boydell’s Vision is the first exhibition in the UK to explore the formation of this early blockbuster, and includes paintings and prints by the artists commissioned by Boydell, as well as a recent digital reconstruction of The Shakespeare Gallery as it looked in 1796.

Exhibition devised with Dr Rosie Dias, University of Warwick