Description The subject of this work shows a marked resemblance to the famous African-American actor Ira Aldridge (1805 (?)-1867), who won renown in Europe for his Shakespearean roles, including Lear, Macbeth and, most famously, Othello. The painting has been attributed to William Mulready, but is perhaps closer in style to the work of William Etty (1787-1849), David Wilkie (1785-1841) and John Simpson (1782-1847). Simpson appears to have portrayed Aldridge in the guise of a captive slave in ca. 1827 (this oil study can now be found in the collection of Tate Britain). There are some similarities between this study and the Walters' painting.
Provenance The Honorable Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr., Baltimore; Walters Art Museum, September, 1987, by gift.
Credit Gift of the Honorable Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr., 1987
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