The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons

National Portrait Gallery

20 Oct 2011 – 8 Jan 2012

£5.50 with National Art Pass (standard entry £11)

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The National Portrait Gallery presents an exhibition exploring the extraordinary women who risked their careers and reputations to become Britain's first professional actresses.

Combining femininity, fashion and theatricality, the exhibition features works spanning the 17th and 18th centuries, revealing how portraits were used by performers enhance fame, deflect scandal and develop professional identities.

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On display at the National Portrait gallery will be 53 images of such famous thespians as Nell Gwyn, Lavinia Fenton, Sarah Siddons, Mary Robinson and Dorothy Jordan by artists such as Hogarth, Gainsborough, Lawrence, Reynolds and Zoffany.Special OffersTo celebrate the First Actresses exhibition, the National Portrait Gallery offers Art Fund members a 10% discount on all merchandise in the First Actresses exhibition shop during November. To redeem simply show your National Art Pass on purchase.

Venue information

Opening times

Sat – Wed, 10am – 6pm
Thu – Fri, 10am – 9pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)