One of the great Kemble family private collection


Charles Kemble was born in Douai.
He was famed as a theatrical manager, the first to use appropriately detailed historical sets and costumes on the English stage, and as an actor noted for his supporting roles in several Shakespeare plays, but at his best in comedy.
He made his first recorded appearance in 1792 or 1793 at Sheffield as Orlando in Shakespeare's As You Like It. His London debut took place on April 21, 1794: in Shakespeare's Macbeth he acted Malcolm to the Macbeth of his John Philip Kemble, his famous brother,
In comedy he was frequently supported by his wife, Maria Theresa de Camp.
He became manager of Covent Garden Theatre, London, but nearly went bankrupt until his daughter, Fanny Kemble, made her debut there in 1829 and became a success.
Visits to the United States with his daughter in 1832 and 1834 also brought acclaim. Because of increasing deafness, he retired from the stage in December 1836 but gave readings of Shakespeare until 1840. After his retirement he was given the post of examiner of plays.

Opie did not mix in theatrical circles, but his second wife Amelia was very friendly with the whole Kemble family. It was as a result of her friendship with them that Opie came to become friendly with them and paint portraits of them all:

Sarah Siddons (sister) three times
Elizabeth Satchell Kemble (as Juliet on her balcony)
Frances Twiss (sister) at request of his wife Amelia in 1799
John Philip Kemble “in red cloak with jewels fastening it, flowing hair”.

Ccharles Kemble is best known from the portrait by Henry Perrnoet Briggs RA (National Portrait Gallery) Briggs was a cousin of Opie's second wife Amelia.

ALFRED ESDAILE the great twentieth century West End impressario
THis portrait hung in his London dining room where over a long period many stars of stage and screen were among the guests at frequent parties including the first nights of West End shows

Esdaile collection sale (as John Philip Kemble)