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image M466

Life mask of Mrs Sarah Siddons


Museum number: M466

Curatorial note

We do not know how Soane acquired this life mask of the actress Sarah Siddons (1755-1831). In the 1830s it hung in the Sepulchral Chamber in the basement where Soane described it in 1835, noting that it was 'a Mask of Mrs Siddons, taken from the life, the lip of which, at the right corner, is a little distorted, from the unpleasant sensation produced by the pressure of the plaster'.

Mrs Siddons was the leading actress of the Georgian stage, especially renowned for her portrayal of tragic female roles, above all others Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth. She was the sister of the celebrated actor John Phillip Kemble and the actor and theatre manager Charles Kemble.

Soane owned a copy of Boaden's Memoirs of Mrs Siddons and two of the chess pieces in his collection, modelled by John Flaxman, are said to be based on Mrs Siddons and John Philip Kemble as Lady Macbeth and Macbeth.


Sir J. Soane, Description, 1835, p.34

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk