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Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827)

Theatrical Leap Frog. 30 Nov 1804

Hand-coloured etching | 36.6 x 24.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 810599

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The thirteen-year-old actor William Betty first appeared on the London stage to great acclaim in late 1804. Betty’s popularity challenged John Kemble, the actor who had previously been the darling of the London theatre. Rowlandson shows Betty vaulting over Kemble, who bemoans his fate with a version of Ophelia’s words from 'Hamlet'. Purchased by George IV when Prince of Wales, 1804 Cat. 59