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Juliana Westray Wood

Juliana Westray Wood
Artist
Rembrandt Peale, 22 Feb 1778 - 3 Oct 1860
Sitter
Juliana Westray Wood, 1778 - 1838
Date
c. 1811
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Frame: 103.8 x 90.8 x 10.8cm (40 7/8 x 35 3/4 x 4 1/4")
Topic
Exterior
Nature & Environment\Plant\Tree
Home Furnishings\Drape
Architecture\Column
Juliana Westray Wood: Female
Juliana Westray Wood: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor
Portrait
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; frame conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.81.120
Exhibition Label
Born England
Born in England, Juliana Westray made her dramatic debut in Boston in 1797. In 1803, she joined the Philadelphia company of actor, director, and theater manager William Burke Wood, whom she married in 1804. At that time, stage performers—and particularly women—were viewed as morally suspect and fair game for insult. While playing Shakespeare’s Juliet in Philadelphia in the summer of 1811, Wood was struck by a musket ball thrown from an upper box. In 1816, while attending church services in Baltimore, she was denounced from the pulpit for portraying the heroine in what the minister considered a “shameful production.”
This glamorous painting belies those sordid realities. Moreover, when an engraving of the portrait appeared in The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor in March 1811, Wood was praised as “a lady whose public talents and private virtues have raised her to a very high rank in public estimation.”
Nacida en Inglaterra
Juliana Westray hizo su debut dramático en Boston en 1797. En 1803 se unió en Filadelfia a la compañía del actor, director y gerente teatral William Burke Wood, con quien se casó en 1804. Para esa época, a los artistas de teatro, sobre todo las mujeres, se les consideraba de moral dudosa y eran blanco de insultos. Mientras interpretaba a la Julieta de Shakespeare en Filadelfia en el verano de 1811, Wood fue alcanzada por una bala de mosquete lanzada desde un palco. En 1816, en una iglesia de Baltimore, se le censuró desde el púlpito por interpretar a la heroína en lo que el pastor consideraba una “producción vergonzosa”.
Esta glamorosa pintura oculta aquellas realidades sórdidas. Asimismo, cuando se publicó un grabado del retrato en The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor en marzo de 1811, Wood fue elogiada como “una dama cuyos talentos públicos y virtudes privadas la han elevado muy alto en la estima pública”.
Provenance
Eleanor Crosby Williams, Maryland, great-great-granddaughter of sitter; purchased by “the Bixbys” [Mrs. W. H. Bixby [Mrs. Stella F. Bixby], St. Louis; (Art Associates, New York); purchased 1981 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery