We are exhibiting an 18th century painting showing David Garrick and his acting company, to mark the anniversary of Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee.

We have carried out conservation work on the painting and have put it on display for the first time in more than a decade, to mark 250 years since Garrick’s 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee, which launched Stratford-upon-Avon as the epicentre of the Shakespeare industry.

The Apotheosis of Garrick is an oil painting, also known as The Immortality of Garrick, with Portraits of the Principal Actors, it was painted by English artist George Carter in 1782 and given to the RSC Collection in 1911. The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1784 and again in 1951, and has been loaned out to regional museums. 

Carter's work shows Garrick’s Drury Lane acting company, gathered to witness the lift off of their deceased master on his flight to Parnassus. Some of the most renowned actors of their day are dressed as Shakespearean characters which include Cordelia, Isabella, Beatrice, Desdemona, Hamlet, Iachimo, Touchstone, the Gravedigger, Prospero and Malvolio.

Painting by George Carter © RSC Browse and license our images

As well as restoring and unveiling the painting this year, we are staging two plays in which Garrick enjoyed two of his most successful roles: The Provoked Wife and Venice Preserved.

The Apotheosis of Garrick is now on display in the Circle Bar of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

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