Not currently on display at the V&A

Tom Matthews (1805-1889) as Clown

Drawing
late 19th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Tom Matthews (1805-1889) is depicted in a characteristic Regency Clown outfit comprising a tricorn wig, a comical ruff with jagged points, and a striped and spotted tunic, breeches and tights. His tunic is cut away in a circle to reveal his waistcoat, straining over a bulging stomach.

Known as 'the Clown with a mouth like Piccadilly Circus', Matthews was a pupil of the great clown Joseph Grimaldi and joined the company at Sadler's Wells Theatre in the early 1820s, at about the time when pantomimes at Sadler's Wells became principally a Christmas rather than an Easter or Whitsuntide attraction. He made a name for himself as a clown in the 1820s in London theatres including the Olympic and Sadler’s Wells, and trained the clown Jefferini who himself appeared as clown at Sadler's Wells. Matthews excelled in comedy, dance and singling and appeared in pantomime at Covent Garden and Drury Lane where he worked for over forty years as its principal clown. He made his farewell appearance at Drury Lane Theatre in the Christmas 1864 production of Hop o' my Thumb and his Eleven Brothers!; or, Harlequin and the Ogre of the Seven-Leagued Boots.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pencil and watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Tom Matthews (1805-1889) as Clown. Full-length portrait signed with the monogram RBP. Pencil and watercolour on paper. Harry Beard Collection.
Physical Description
Full-length portrait of Tom Matthews (1805-1889) as Clown in a three-pointed black wig, standing on a pavement against a mottled grey-green background, wearing a jagged-edged ruff and parti-coloured tan and black spotted and blue and white striped tunic, tights and breeches. Pencil and watercolour on paper. Signed with the monogram RBP.
Dimensions
  • Height: 17.1cm
  • Width: 10.1cm
Credit line
Harry R. Beard Collection, given by Isobel Beard
Summary
Tom Matthews (1805-1889) is depicted in a characteristic Regency Clown outfit comprising a tricorn wig, a comical ruff with jagged points, and a striped and spotted tunic, breeches and tights. His tunic is cut away in a circle to reveal his waistcoat, straining over a bulging stomach.



Known as 'the Clown with a mouth like Piccadilly Circus', Matthews was a pupil of the great clown Joseph Grimaldi and joined the company at Sadler's Wells Theatre in the early 1820s, at about the time when pantomimes at Sadler's Wells became principally a Christmas rather than an Easter or Whitsuntide attraction. He made a name for himself as a clown in the 1820s in London theatres including the Olympic and Sadler’s Wells, and trained the clown Jefferini who himself appeared as clown at Sadler's Wells. Matthews excelled in comedy, dance and singling and appeared in pantomime at Covent Garden and Drury Lane where he worked for over forty years as its principal clown. He made his farewell appearance at Drury Lane Theatre in the Christmas 1864 production of Hop o' my Thumb and his Eleven Brothers!; or, Harlequin and the Ogre of the Seven-Leagued Boots.
Associated Object
S.3645-2013 (Object)
Collection
Accession Number
S.389-2013

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record createdJanuary 18, 2013
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