Stretcher: 76.8 x 64.1 x 2.5cm (30 1/4 x 25 1/4 x 1")
Frame: 105.4 x 92.1 x 10.2cm (41 1/2 x 36 1/4 x 4")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
A character actor who specialized in comic American "types," James Henry Hackett made his debut in 1826. Here he is shown in the role of Rip Van Winkle, in a play he adapted in 1830 from Washington Irving's story. The role was particularly appropriate for the young United States: the colonial Rip falls asleep and awakens twenty years later, astonished at how America had changed. Hackett went on to have a successful career in both England and the United States. He later moved into theater management, producing, and playwriting. While his contributions to the American theater were great, he always was disappointed that he never succeeded in the major tragic roles.
(Sotheby’s, New York, May 22, 1996, lot 85); purchased 1996 NPG
According to sale catalog, previous owners were James Henry Hackett and James Ricau.