Object Image

Sir Henry Irving as Hamlet

Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905), actor/manager, in the role of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Renowned and popular actor Henry Irving is said to have brought a simplicity to the role of Hamlet, avoiding the artifice of earlier performances of the role. His new approach was very successful, and he played for 200 nights consecutively. Irving revived the role four years later in a production during which he was manager of the Lyceum Theatre.

Irving is noticeably older than people may expect a Hamlet to be (it is more often considered a young man's role and showcase for actors under 40), though recently a production with Ian McKellen in the lead has challenged this, and it remains a timeless, universal part.

No. 511

1883 – 5
Image and text © Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London, 2022

Where you'll find this

Guildhall Art Gallery