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A work made of hand-colored etching and aquatint on paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of hand-colored etching and aquatint on paper.


published February 18, 1803


James Gillray (English, 1756-1815)
published by Hannah Humphrey (English, c. 1745-1818)

About this artwork

While ancient theater has continued to inspire the modern world, satirist James Gillray leaves little doubt as to the caliber of the performers seen here. The Muses of theater, Thalia and Melpomene, are invoked on panels of the dressing room screen along with Cecilia, the patron saint of music, the composer George Frideric Handel, the playwright William Shakespeare, and the actor David Garrick. The fierce Melpomene indeed looks rather like Lady Macbeth, with a dagger and a chalice raised above her head as if to pounce on the amateur theatricals trilling and carousing below.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


James Gillray




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 1803


Hand-colored etching and aquatint on paper


Image: 30 × 48.5 cm (11 13/16 × 19 1/8 in.); Plate: 31.5 × 49.2 cm (12 7/16 × 19 3/8 in.); Sheet: 35.5 × 54 cm (14 × 21 5/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Thomas F. Furness in memory of William McCallin McKee

Reference Number


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