Macbeth instructing the murderers employed to kill Banquo thumbnail 1
Macbeth instructing the murderers employed to kill Banquo thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Macbeth instructing the murderers employed to kill Banquo

Watercolour
ca. 1850 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The subject is taken from Act II, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's play Macbeth, which was one of the most popular of his works in the 19th century, particularly in continental Europe.
The lines quoted in the exhibition catalogue in 1850 were:
Macbeth: - So is he mine; and in such bloody distance,
That every minute of his being thrusts
Against my nearest of life.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour
Brief Description
Watercolour by George Cattermole entitled 'Macbeth instructing the murderers employed to kill Banquo' from Act II, Scene 1 of 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare. Great Britain, ca. 1850.
Physical Description
The subject is taken from Act II, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's play Macbeth, which was one of the most popular of his works in the 19th century, particularly in continental Europe.

The lines quoted in the exhibition catalogue in 1850 were:

Macbeth: - So is he mine; and in such bloody distance,

That every minute of his being thrusts

Against my nearest of life.

Dimensions
  • Framed height: 55cm
  • Framed width: 70.2cm
Credit line
Ellison gift
Object history


The French Romantics 'discovered' Shakespeare anew early in the century, especially after Stendhal published Racine et Shakespeare in 1823-5. British painters had long plundered the plays for subjects, and Cattermole, with his love of 'costume pieces' set in the middle ages or Tudor times, exhibited many at the Old Watercolour Society. He is not interested in reconstructing any theatrical performance, but rather an imagined past in which the dress and gestures are in themselves intrinsically dramatic, even at times melodramatic. Here, he raises the emotional temperature by, for example, drenching the fabric of the throne with the colour of blood. In a sense, Cattermole's paintings of the past are the visual equivalent of the novels of Sir Walter Scott, which also enjoyed a tremendous vogue both in Britain and abroad. The watercolour exhibited here was shown at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1855 with great success.
Subjects depicted
Collection
Accession Number
1015-1873

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
Record URL