The Berger Collection


John Downman, ARA (ca. 1750-1824)
Master Page, Anne Page, and Slender
Oil on canvas
32 1/2 x 39 3/4 in. (82.6 x 101 cm)

Amateur dramatics were all the rage among high society at the turn of the nineteenth century. Master Page, Anne Page, and Slender depicts a scene from William Shakespeare's comedy The Merrie Wives of Windsor. John Dawkins (1773-1844) is shown in the part of Slender, his sister Susannah in the part of Anne Page, and her lawyer husband Sir Edward Dodsworth (1768-1845) in the part of Master Page. John Dawkins surely steals the show, with his exaggerated pose and facial expression; he seems to have gotten so far into character that a wry smile is beginning to creep across his sister's face, and his brother-in-law looks somewhat skeptical and a touch embarrassed by his performance.


Provenance

The Dawkins family, by descent from the sitters; Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York


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