Ira Aldridge as Mungo in The Padlock by Isaac Bickerstaffe

Painting
ca. 1833 (painted)
Ira Aldridge as Mungo in The Padlock by Isaac Bickerstaffe thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker

This painting depicts Ira Aldridge (1807-1867), born Frederick William Aldridge in New York, as the servant Mungo in Isaac Bickerstaffe's popular farce The Padlock with music by Charles Dibden, which had become a comic staple on the English stage since its original production at Drury Lane Theatre in 1768. Aldridge got great pathos out of the role of the abused, harrassed slave, as well as humour in the scenes with his master, the rich West Indian planter Don Diego.

Aldridge may have played Mungo for the first time on tour in Devizes in March 1826, and it became one of his favourite roles, in which he could make audiences both laugh and think, since Mungo is not just an insubordinate drunken servant but also an exploited lackey aware of the indignities to which he is subjected. During his career Aldridge also regularly sang songs from the play, and played the role in a double bill with Othello,displaying the wide range of his acting abilities.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Brief Description
Portrait entitled "Ira Aldridge as Mungo in The Padlock by Isaac Bickerstaffe", attributed to Thomas Charles Wageman, ca. 1833
Dimensions
  • Height: 44.5cm
  • Width: 34.5cm
Credit line
Given by Professor Herbert Marshall
Subjects depicted
Summary
This painting depicts Ira Aldridge (1807-1867), born Frederick William Aldridge in New York, as the servant Mungo in Isaac Bickerstaffe's popular farce The Padlock with music by Charles Dibden, which had become a comic staple on the English stage since its original production at Drury Lane Theatre in 1768. Aldridge got great pathos out of the role of the abused, harrassed slave, as well as humour in the scenes with his master, the rich West Indian planter Don Diego.



Aldridge may have played Mungo for the first time on tour in Devizes in March 1826, and it became one of his favourite roles, in which he could make audiences both laugh and think, since Mungo is not just an insubordinate drunken servant but also an exploited lackey aware of the indignities to which he is subjected. During his career Aldridge also regularly sang songs from the play, and played the role in a double bill with Othello,displaying the wide range of his acting abilities.
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
S.1130-1986

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record createdOctober 28, 2003
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