Austin Abbey’s Shakespeare at the Farnsworth

On Saturday, October 4, to celebrate both the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare and the 125th anniversary of the Rockland Shakespeare Society, the Farnsworth Art Museum will open a new exhibition entitled Edwin Austin Abbey’s Shakespeare. This exhibition will feature approximately thirty works of America’s foremost illustrator of Shakespeare’s plays from the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery, in New Haven, Connecticut. The exhibition will be on display in the museum’s Crosman Gallery through January 4, 2015.

Abbey at the Farnsworth

“Malvolio in the dungeon, Twelfth Night – Act III, Scene IV” by Edwin Austin Abbey

Drawn from the largest and most important collection of Abbey’s works, numbering more than 2,500, in the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, this exhibition will examine Abbey’s illustrations of many of the best-known scenes in Shakespeare’s plays such as the death of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and the murder of Duncan in Macbeth. William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, often regarded as the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He has been credited with writing around 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, though debate about his authorship continues. His plays, translated into most major living languages, are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Edwin Austin Abbey was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1852. He began his career as an illustrator for such magazines as Harper’s Weekly and Scribner’s Magazine. He moved to England in 1878 and was made a full member of the Royal Academy in 1898. In 1897, renowned for his work as an illustrator of Shakespeare’s works, Abbey was awarded an honorary M.A. degree by Yale University. In 1937 Abbey’s estate was donated to the Yale University Art Gallery. Founded in 1832, the Gallery is one of the oldest public art museums in the United States.

The exhibition will be celebrated at a free community opening, on Friday, October 3, from 5 – 8 p.m., as part of the First Fridays at the Farnsworth. The event will feature community participation in sonnet and script reading, a Shakespeare insult booth, roving minstrels, soft drinks and cookies as well as special store discounts for members. This exhibition is sponsored in part by Paul Cavalli & Jack McKenney and the Goose River Exchange. First Fridays at the Farnsworth is sponsored by The First, N.A.

Abbey at the Farnsworth

“Lady Macbeth: “Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers…,”, Act II, Scene II, Macbeth” by Edwin Austin Abbey