Place Published: Philadelphia
Publisher: H. C. Carey & I. Lea and E. Littell
Date Published: 1827
Binding: Hard Cover
First US edition. 5-1/2 x 8-3/4 inches. xxii, -382pp.
Rebacked in calf, tooled with original label. Original boards, overall foxing to a number of pages.
Overall good condition. Siddons, Sarah Kemble, 1755-1831, English actress. The most distinguished of the famous Kemble family, she had early theatrical experience in her father's traveling company, and at 18 she married William Siddons, an actor. Brought to the attention of David Garrick, she was engaged by him for a Drury Lane performance in 1775-76, which failed. In 1782, after appearances in the provinces had greatly increased her powers, she played Isabella in Southerne's Fatal Marriage at Drury Lane. Her success was instant and indisputable, and her fame grew in such roles as Queen Katharine, Desdemona, and as Volumnia to the Coriolanus of John Philip Kemble, her brother, with whom she often starred. In the role of Lady Macbeth, which she first played in 1785 and which was her farewell performance in 1812, she was unequaled. Siddons' warm, rich voice and majestic presence held audiences in awe, and though she shunned publicity, she won the praise of the poets and critics of her day. Her portrait was painted by Gainsborough and by Reynolds, the latter representing her as The Tragic Muse. Her statue, by Chantrey, is in Westminster Abbey. Lowe writes of Sarah Siddons: "The greatest English tragic actress. Her first appearance at Drury Lane, 29th December 1775, was a failure, and she retired to the country again; but on her reappearance, 10th. October 1782, she was triumphantly successful. She took her farewell of the stage, 29th June 1812, but appeared occasionally for charitable purposes. Her last appearance was at Covent Garden, 9th June 1819. She was a good and excellent woman, as well as a grand artist". Hazlitt eulogised her as "not less than a goddess, or than a prophetess inspired by the gods. Power was seated on her brow, passion emanated from her breast as from a shrine". Christopher North spoke of her "divine, inspiring awe" and Byron said that she was worth Cooke, Kemble and Kean all put together.
Good. Item #87