Sarah <I>Kemble</I> Siddons

Sarah Kemble Siddons

Birth
Brecon, Powys, Wales
Death 8 Jun 1831 (aged 75)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial Paddington, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 5598 · View Source
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English Tragic Actress. She is most remembered for her portrayal of the Shakespearean character, Lady Macbeth, due to her emotions expressing Lady Macbeth’s murderous passions. Her physical attributes enabled her to make the Lady Macbeth character her own. Before her role as Lady Macbeth, she worked as a lady’s maid and companion, until her marriage in 1773. In 1773, she was successful as Belvidera in Thomas Otway's Venice Preserv'd. After appearing in as Calista in Nicholas Rowe's Fair Penitent, she was asked to appear at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. In 1777, she worked in provincial companies. As she became better known, she appeared in Bristol at the Theatre Royal, King Street (which now houses the Bristol Old Vic). In 1782, she was back in Drury Lane and was an immediate success in the title role of Isabella, or, The Fatal Marriage, Garrick’s adaptation of a play by Thomas Southerne. After Lady Macbeth, she played Desdemona, Rosalind, Ophelia and Volumnia, all with great success; but it was as Queen Catherine in Henry VIII that was her favorite role as it was the most natural. In 1802, she left Drury Lane and appeared occasionally at the rival theater, Covent Garden. It was there on June 29, 1812, that she gave perhaps the most extraordinary farewell performance in theater history as Lady Macbeth. The audience stopped the play at the end of the sleepwalking scene. When the curtain reopened, Siddons was sitting on stage and made an emotional eight minute farewell speech. Her actual last performance was in 1919 as Lady Randolph in John Home’s Douglas. She was also famous for fainting at the sight of the Elgin Marbles in London. There are multiple portraits, statues and memorial in her honor throughout the world: portraits on display in Tate Britain, The Huntington in San Marino, California, London’s National Gallery, St. Mary on Paddington Green, and St. Andrew’s in Westminster Abbey, Siddons Tower in County Cork in Ireland, The Sarah Siddons Inn, in Brecon, Wales, and an electric locomotive named Sarah Siddons, No. 12, which remained in service on the London Underground Metropolitan line until 1961 and has been preserved and in working order. Founded in Chicago in 1952, the Sarah Siddons Society continues to present the Sarah Siddons Award yearly to a distinguished actress. BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Drama presented Sarah Siddons: Life in Live Sittings, was presented in five 15-minute parts, in April 2010. The radio drama was by David Pownall covering Siddon’s long relationship with artist Thomas Lawrence.

Bio by: Carrie M


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 5 Jun 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 5598
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sarah Kemble Siddons (5 Jul 1755–8 Jun 1831), Find a Grave Memorial no. 5598, citing St. Mary's Paddington Green Churchyard, Paddington, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .