|Image 163 x 125 mm oval, Plate 191 x 177 mm, Sheet 245 x 185 mm
A very scarce, anonymous, half length portrait of Ann Cargill (neé Brown) in profile to right, in a low cut dress, with a ribbon at her waist, her left hand just under her breast, her hair worn down, she wears a large bonnet decorated with ribbons and flowers on her head, all in a oval. There is an inscription in ink in the upper margin in an old hand stating, "Miss Brown afterwards Mrs. Cargill" with another inscription in the lower right margin in pencil, "Mrs Cargill (drowned at sea) / Played in Sheridan's Duenna." Various notes on verso including one saying "proof."
Ann Cargill (neé Brown) (c.1760-1784) was an actress and singer known for her love affairs as much if not more than her acting. The daughter of London coal merchant Edward Brown, she made her theatrical debut in Covent Garden in 1770 where she continue to act until 1780. She found success as an oratorio singer including as the original Clara in Sheridan's The Duenna in 1775. Ann was also known for her scandalous affairs with her admirers as well as her relationship with her father and guardian who did not want her to appear on stage. In 1776, her father obtained a court order over Anne but she ran away. He captured her and took her to her aunt and uncle's house where she was later carried by colleagues back to the theatre so she could perform that evening. Her father was then thwarted by the audience and players when he tried to recapture her that evening. In 1780, Ann left Covent Garden and eloped with a Mr. R. Cargill. She retuned to acting 1781 with the new name Mrs. Cargill. She toured England in 1782 but after relations with a new lover Mr. Rumbold, she went with him to India. Despite finding great success in India her presence was condemned, William Pitt the Younger, telling Parliament that"An actress should not be defiling the pure shores of India" and was forced to retun home. Having taken a new lover Captain John Haldane during her stay in India Ann returned home on the East India packet 'Nancy', captained by Haldane in December 1783. The ship ran into storms three months into the journey and Ann died when the Nancy sank of the Scilly Isles. Found in her shift (or naked depending on the reports) with a baby in her arms her story caught the nation's attention at the time.
This print is undescribed and unrecorded in the BM or National Portrait Gallery.
Condition: Trimmed close to platemark on sides. Minor time toning and creasing to edges of sheet.