Margaret ('Peg') Woffington, Actress thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 53a

Margaret ('Peg') Woffington, Actress

Oil Painting
ca. 1738 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Although this is technically a portrait, the image of a young woman at a window with a pet bird in a cage was a frequently employed motif in popular paintings and prints of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Sometimes the women depicted were actresses or courtesans.

People
Margaret Woffington, (1718-1760), popularly known as `Peg', and the most famous actress of her day, enjoyed a lively and unconventional life. Various artists painted her, and this is almost certainly a portrait of her, although many pictures of attractive young women of that period are wrongly thought to be of her. This portrait is not signed, but the delicate treatment of the flesh tones and the sensitive rendering of the costume justify the attribution to Jean-Baptiste van Loo (1684-1745). He was so successful as a portrait painter, by 1738 he had to give five sittings a day at his studio in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, and prospective sitters were forced to apply six weeks in advance.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
oil on canvas
Brief Description
Oil painting, 'Margaret (Peg) Woffington', attributed to Jean-Baptiste van Loo, ca. 1738
Physical Description
Oil painting
Dimensions
  • Height: 111cm
  • Width: 88cm
  • Depth: 9.8cm
Dimensions checked: Conservator; 18/01/1999 by LM/NC
Style
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This portrait shows the popular actress Peg Woffington wearing lace from Flanders (now Belgium) in a Rococo design. It was possibly painted by Jean-Baptiste van Loo, a French painter, who came to London in 1737. The painting has a splendid scrolled Rococo frame of a slightly later date.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Bequeathed by John Jones
Object history
Bequeathed by John Jones, 1882
Subject depicted
Summary
Object Type
Although this is technically a portrait, the image of a young woman at a window with a pet bird in a cage was a frequently employed motif in popular paintings and prints of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Sometimes the women depicted were actresses or courtesans.

People
Margaret Woffington, (1718-1760), popularly known as `Peg', and the most famous actress of her day, enjoyed a lively and unconventional life. Various artists painted her, and this is almost certainly a portrait of her, although many pictures of attractive young women of that period are wrongly thought to be of her. This portrait is not signed, but the delicate treatment of the flesh tones and the sensitive rendering of the costume justify the attribution to Jean-Baptiste van Loo (1684-1745). He was so successful as a portrait painter, by 1738 he had to give five sittings a day at his studio in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, and prospective sitters were forced to apply six weeks in advance.
Bibliographic Reference
Ashton, Geoffrey. Catalogue of Paintings at the Theatre Museum, London. ed. James Fowler, London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1992. 224p. ill. ISBN 1851771026
Collection
Accession Number
601-1882

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL