Memoirs Of Mrs. Siddons..
Rebound in half green cloth, over buff cloth, gilt. Some foxing and staining, otherwise fine condition.
Henry Colburn, New Burlington Street.,
Interspersed with anecdotes of authors and actors. by james boaden, esq. in two volumes.
First edition. 2 volumes. 8vo. 5.75 x 8.75 inches. Vol. I, xvii + [i] + 382 pp +  pp. advertisements. Vol. II, xii + 394 pp. +  pp. advertisements. Half-titles.
Vol. I illustrated by portrait frontispiece, mezzotint engraving by C. Turner after the portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence.
The first significant account of the life and career of Mrs Siddons, in which the actress collaborated with her biographer, was published in her own lifetime. Sarah Siddons, née Kemble (1775-1831) came from an acting family, and following an inauspicious start to her London career under Garrick, developed her skill through performing in the provinces, until her return to Drury Lane, now managed by Sheridan, led to her immediate and sustained success on the stage. She became 'the most acclaimed tragic actress of her own age and she has subsequently been widely regarded as the greatest female performer in English theatrical history...she achieved the status of a popular icon, playing a key role in the social legitimation of the acting profession...' (DNB). By her portrayal of victimised and exploited women, she frequently provoked a cathartic response in her female audience. The author, James Boaden (1762-1839) was a playwright, who achieved renown as theatrical biographer; his other subjects included Philip Kemble and Mrs Jordan, and he also edited Garrick's correspondence: 'Boaden's biographies, founded mostly on personal acquaintance with his subjects, remain standard works, valued for their vivid detail and descriptions of acting styles and performances of the period' (DNB). A second edition appeared in 1831 and the Memoirs were also published in the USA and reprinted in the late nineteenth century.
[Stock No. 21254]