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George Rignold

A cabinet card portrait of the actor and theatre manager George Rignold.

According to his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, written by Richard Foulkes:

‘Charles Calvert's revival of Henry V had been such an outstanding success at the Prince's Theatre, Manchester, in 1872 and subsequently on tour that it had been bought by the New York managers Jarrett and Palmer. Calvert supervised the staging at Booth's Theatre in February 1875, but, because of his poor health, stepped down from the title role and cast Rignold in his stead. Calvert's elaborate stagecraft and detailed realization of medieval pageantry and warfare were a revelation to New Yorkers. Rignold's Henry V, though it lacked the subtlety of Calvert's own interpretation, impressed American audiences …

‘Rignold took Henry V across America, from the east coast to Salt Lake City and on to San Francisco, and thence to Australia and New Zealand. Acclaim was universal: “His interpretation in every sense of the word is perfection” (Wellington Evening Chronicle, 27 Dec 1878). It was not just the influence of England's theatre that Rignold was spreading across the globe, but also, especially with such a patriotic play as Henry V, her history and culture. The success of Henry V had encouraged Rignold to add Macbeth to his repertory at Booth's Theatre in May 1875, but this served only to reveal his limitations as an actor. Even with Henry V the more exacting London critics expressed reservations when Rignold appeared at Drury Lane in November 1879: “He does but small justice to the noble words put into his mouth. His elocution is imperfect, often incorrect in emphasis, too hurried, and deficient in kingly dignity. He seems too anxious to get over the speeches and come to the fighting” (The Times, 6 Nov 1879).

‘The strictures of the London critics, compared with the plaudits of their American and Australian counterparts, no doubt influenced Rignold's decision to pursue his career in Australia.’

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

condition: Both the print and the mount are in excellent condition. The small white void near the lower
right-hand corner of the print is a part of the image, not a flaw.
price:  SOLD
code: cab35
George Rignold, actor, Napoleon Sarony, Sarony, Shakespeare, King Henry V
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