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George Rignold

A cabinet card portrait of the English actor and theatre manager George Rignold, seen here dressed as Shakespeare’s King Henry V, his most famous and successful role.

Photographed in 1875 by Napoleon Sarony of 680, Broadway, New York.

Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896) was born in Quebec, Canada. He moved to New York in 1836 and worked as a lithographer for Nathaniel Currier until he established his own lithographic firm in 1843. Originally self-taught, in 1858 he went to Europe for artistic training. In 1864 he apprenticed himself to his brother, Oliver Francois Xavier Sarony, a noted photographer in Scarborough, an English seaside resort. Within a year he went into partnership in Birmingham with R.W.Thrupp and Martin Laroche (real name William Henry Silvester, often claimed to be another Canadian-born photographer, but in fact born in Lambeth, London in 1814). Sarony returned to New York in 1866 and opened a studio at 680 Broadway. The studio later moved to 37 Union Square, and later still to 256 Fifth Avenue.

Sarony became one of the most famous and prolific photographers in America, specializing in portraits of actors and actresses. During his career, he is said to have taken some 30,000 theatrical portraits. He was particularly noted for the unconventional poses and animated expression he elicited from his sitters. It doubtless helped that Sarony was as colourful, eccentric, and theatrical as many of his subjects. A tiny man like his namesake, he enjoyed strutting around in hussar's uniform. At his death, the studio reportedly contained 500,000 negatives.

condition: Excellent
price:  SOLD
code: cab34
George Rignold, actor, Napoleon Sarony, Sarony, Shakespeare, King Henry V
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