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A work made of etching on cream wove paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching on cream wove paper.


March 15, 1776 (originally published); published 1809


John Hamilton Mortimer
English, 1740-1779

About this artwork

In Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, Beatrice and Benedick are the leading not-quite-lovers, whose verbal sparring delights both the audience and the other characters as their professed mutual hatred turns to love. In this etching, John Hamilton Mortimer captured both the pride and humor of the female half of this pair. The merry Beatrice seems to be caught in mid-repartee, with her mouth slightly open; Benedick has just inquired if his “dear Lady Disdain” is “yet living.” She laughingly responds with the jab quoted below the image.


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Prints and Drawings


John Hamilton Mortimer




England (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Published 1809


Etching on cream wove paper


Plate: 40.2 × 42.4 cm (15 7/8 × 16 3/4 in.); Sheet: 59.6 × 43.7 cm (23 1/2 × 17 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Mary S. Adams Endowment

Reference Number


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