Donald Wolfit as King Lear at the 'Old Bedford'

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

Donald Wolfit as King Lear at the 'Old Bedford'

Donald Wolfit as King Lear at the 'Old Bedford' (aka King Lear), 1949
Oil on canvas, 50 cm x 39 cm

The actor-manager Donald Wolfit (1902–68) leased the Bedford Theatre at 122–133 Camden High Street, north London, and presented his Shakespearean repertoire there from 31 Jan. to 21 May 1949; King Lear opened on 7 Mar., with the Fool, also depicted, played by Bryan Johnson. (This was in fact the 'New Bedford': the 'Old Bedford' music hall, which occupied part of the same site, had been demolished in 1898. The 'New Bedford' was itself demolished in 1969.)
PROVENANCE: Purchased from the artist by Ms Elizabeth Gawne > Estate of John David Roberts (held in Tate store, 2014)
EXHIBITION HISTORY: Leicester Galleries 1950, Leicester Galleries (1) 1958, Tate Gallery 1965, Reading 1983

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