Thursday, 7 June 2012

Mrs Sarah Siddons

Portrayed by Sir Thomas Lawrence (left) and Sir Joshua Reynolds (right)

Born on 5th July 1755 in Brecon, Wales, Sarah Kemble was the eldest daughter of Roger – manager of the touring theatre company The Warwickshire Company of Comedians – and his wife Sarah "Sally" Ward. In 1773, at the age of 18, she married the actor William Siddons. She gave birth to seven children but outlived five of them, and her marriage to William became strained and ended in an informal separation. He died in 1803. During the late 1770s Sarah gradually built her reputation on the London stage, before becoming a sensation in 1882 when performing the lead role in David Garrick's Isabella or The Fatal Marriage at the Drury Lane theatre. It was beginning of a 20 year reign as queen of Drury Lane, but her most famous role was that of Lady Macbeth.

Mrs Siddons formally retired from the stage in 1812 but made several guest appearances until 1819. She died in London in 1831 and was interred in St Mary's Paddington Green, where there is a statue to Britain's greatest ever actress.

(Nearest tube Edgware Road.)

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