Object Image

Olivia's House - Olivia, Maria and Malvolio (Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act 3, Scene 4)

Ramberg's image responds to a comic moment in Twelfth Night where Malvolio appears before Oliva "cross-gartered," mistakenly thinking himself irresistable. The image was conceived for John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, launched in 1786 as a publishing-cum-exhibition scheme that included a new illustrated edition of the plays, sets of large and small engravings, and a gallery on London's Pall Mall. The latter opened in 1789 with thirty-four paintings and contained about one hundred and seventy works the time Boydell went bankrupt and auctioned the contents in 1805–his print sales plummeted when Napoleon blocaded European ports. This impression belongs to an American reissue of 1852 spearheaded ...

First published 1794; reissued 1852
Stipple engraving
43.5 x 59.9cm
Image and text © Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Permanent collection