"Not content with the literary side "

Paintings and Art Objects:
Henry Fuseli's Macbeth Consulting the Vision of the Armed Head

Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)
Macbeth Consulting the Vision of The Armed Head

Folger painting A27, ©

Writing of Mr. Folger as a collector, Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach pointed out that "not content with the literary side, Mr. Folger interested himself also in the artistic" -- in paintings and in objects, of artistic, sentimental, and associative value.

Among the five paintings featured in A Shared Passion is Henry Fuseli's dreamlike 1793 painting, Macbeth Consulting the Vision of the Armed Head. This painting is one of the finest examples in the Folgers' collection of the literary illustrations of Shakespeare, a vision of a passage in his writings by an artist, which never could be performed on the stage.

Here the well-read Swiss painter Henry Fuseli, who worked in London, elevates a scene in Macbeth -- his favorite Shakespeare play -- to the level of the fantastical. Fuseli considered the picture one of his "best poetical conceptions," and critics have named it his greatest artistic achievement.

The painting passed into the London art trade at the auction of actor Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree's collection in September 1921, eventually reaching Mr. Folger in December 1922 via the London bookseller Maggs.

Other Exhibition Highlights

Rare Books: | The Shakespeare Folios | The Titus Andronicus Quarto |

Paintings and Art Objects: |Thomas Parr's John Philip Kemble as 'Hamlet' | Thomas Nast's Immortal Light |

The Folgers as Collectors: | Dealers and Dealing | The Influence of Emerson | Mrs. Folger's Role | Building an Institution |


This page updated August 29, 2002