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Pieter van Bleeck, 1700–1764

Mrs. Cibber as Cordelia

Former Title(s):

Mrs. Cibber as Cordelia in Nahum Tate's Version of 'King Lear'

Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
84 x 82 inches (213.4 x 208.3 cm)

Inscribed, lower left: "Mrs Cibber the | Character of Cordelia | Play of Lear"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
actors | clouds | costume | disguise | King Lear, play by William Shakespeare | landscape | lightning | literary theme | men | meteorology | mountains | performance | protection | rain | running | science | stick | storm | theater (discipline) | women
Associated People:
Shakespeare, William (1564–1616), playwright and poet
Cibber [née Arne], Susannah Maria (1714–1766), actress and singer
Cordelia (character in King Lear)
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Pieter van Bleeck was a Dutch-born portrait painter and engraver and the son of the portraitist Richard van Bleeck. Both the father and son relocated to London in the 1720s. This remarkable painting by the younger artist depicts a scene from Nahum Tate’s late seventeenth-century adaptation of William Shakespeare’s King Lear, when Edgar—son of the Earl of Gloucester—darts in from the right disguised as a madman in order to protect Cordelia, whom he will later marry, and her confidante Arante from two ruffians. The actress Susannah Maria Cibber made her first appearance as Cordelia in 1746 and was, at the time of her death in 1766, the highest paid actress at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, earning only slightly less than the celebrated actor David Garrick.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2022

"Brilliant Effects" [ Jewels ] (Yale Center for British Art, 2003-07-10 - 2004-01-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Shakespeare in Art (Ferrara Galleries of Modern & Contemporary Art, 2003-02-15 - 2003-06-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Shakespeare and British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 1981-04-23 - 1981-07-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Geoffrey Ashton, Shakespeare and British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1981, pp. 4, 81, no. 13, PR2933 Y25 A74 c.1 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 24-25, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jane Martineau, Shakespeare in art, Merrell, London, New York, 2003, pp. 21, 120, 121, no. 30, PR2883 .S52513 2003 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jane Martineau, Shakespeare nell'arte, Arte, Ferrara, 2003, pp. 192, 193, no. 29, PR2883 .S525 2003 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

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