After an unsuccessful London debut which drove her to the provinces, Sarah Kemble Siddons (1755-1831) played to adoring audiences in Bath and the midlands before returning to triumph in Garrick's production of The Fatal Marriage in 1782. Over her long and brilliant career, Siddons became London's "Tragic Muse," winning the highest possible accolades for her roles as Lady Macbeth, Queen Catharine (Henry VIII), and Volumnia (Coriolanus). Bowing to write his name on the hem of her dress, Dr. Johnson said, "I could not lose the honor this opportunity offered. . . for my name going down to posterity on the hem of your garment" (Boswell's Life. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934-1950, IV, 242, n.2).
This is one of many items belonging to the the Craven Collection of Theatrical Memorabilia given by Babette Craven to the Folger.