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Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2

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Image of Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2

John Boydell
English, 1719–1804
Josiah Boydell (aka Joshua Boydell)
English, 1752–1817
James Parker
English, 1750–1805
after William Hamilton
English, 1751–1801

Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2

about 1804
From Boydell's Graphic Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakespeare

Object Type: Print
10 7/16 x 6 7/16 in. (27 x 16 cm)
Medium and Support: Engraving on paper
Accession Number: 2016.0008.0001

Credit Line: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase

In 1786, a successful London publisher, alderman John Boydell, conceived of a gallery of art devoted to scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. Named for its founder, the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery was one of the first large-scale commercial endeavors intended to promote British literature and artists both in Great Britain as well as throughout the European continent. He commissioned over 167 paintings of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays and produced engravings based on these paintings. In creating the engravings, John Boydell partnered with his son, Josiah, whose name appears after his father’s in the list above. The third name is that of the engraver, and the fourth is that of the painter who created the original composition in oils. The role of the engraver was to transfer the painter’s composition onto plates for printing.

About this scene:
Shakespeare's redemptive plays move beyond tragedy to forgiveness and a new generation’s fresh start.

With magic, the powerful mage and presumed dead former duke of Milan, Prospero, shipwrecks his enemies onto the uncharted island where he has for twelve years lived in exile, hoping to regain his place and provide a suitable husband for his now-grown daughter, all in one afternoon. He tells Miranda of his betrayal by his usurping brother and Alonso, king of Naples, then charms her asleep [seen here], commanding the spirit Ariel to transform to a sea nymph and lead the isolated king’s son Ferdinand to them. Young love blossoms, and then Prospero only has to prompt recognition and repentance in his enemies and himself, subvert murder plots against the king and himself, and renounce magic to achieve his ends—a restored dukedom, promised marriage, and a second chance in life.
-Susan Willis, dramaturg, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, September 28, 2020

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