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Eddison Collection

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London, England (possibly, printed)

  • Date:

    1769 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed paper

  • Credit Line:

    Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Born in Dublin, the son of a silversmith, Spranger Barry (1717-1777) was apprenticed in the same trade before becoming an actor in his mid-20s. He made his stage debut in Dublin as Othello, and worked at the Crow Street theatre in Dublin with the young David Garrick.

Barry and Garrick came to London where they worked at both Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres, becoming the most respected actors of their day, but their relationship veered from amicable collaboration to open hostility, especially when Garrick was the manager of Drury Lane and was employing the increasingly unreliable Barry. Othello was one of Spranger Barry's most popular parts, and one of the few in which Garrick did not succeed, nor attempt again after Barry's success in the role. This print shows Barry in the costume and make-up he wore for the part.

Physical description

Hand-coloured engraving showing Mr Barry as Othello wearing a floor-length green coat over a yellow tunic with a red, gold-fringed sash. He wears calf-length tan boots, red tights and a yellow turban with two red feathers. He stands legs akimbo, looking to his right. Above the image is the text: 'Mr. Barry in the Character of Othello' and below the image 'This only is the Witchcraft I have used. Act I scene 3.'

Place of Origin

London, England (possibly, printed)


1769 (printed)


Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Printed paper


Height: 6.7 cm, Width: 12.2 cm, Depth: 8.8 cm of base

Descriptive line

Spranger Barry in the title role of Shakespeare's play Othello, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 4 October 1746, and 9 March 1749. Hand-coloured engraving. Robert Eddison Collection.

Exhibition History

Behind the Scenes: the Hidden Life of Georgian Theatre, 1737-1784 (Dr Johnson's House 01/01/2004-18/09/2007)

Production Note

Possibly printed for J. Smith No.35 Cheapside & R. Sayer No.53 Fleet Street


Paper; Watercolour; Printing ink

Subjects depicted

Barry, Spranger


Entertainment & Leisure; Prints

Collection code


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