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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

Part of the same series of heads that includes the image of Beatrice, this work depicts the crazed King Lear as he gazes skyward. His eyes bulge and his hair whips about his face as he considers his own misdeeds and tragedy. John Hamilton Mortimer expertly captured the despair and loss of control Lear feels in this moment. The old king cries out the monologue quoted below the image.


On View, Gallery 217


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: 40.3 × 32 cm (15 7/8 × 12 5/8 in.); Sheet: 58.7 × 44.4 cm (23 1/8 × 17 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Mary S. Adams Endowment

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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