Richard Westall: Imogen Entering the Cave of Belarius

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On view in the Painting Shakespeare exhibition
May 13, 2017 – Feb 11, 2018 

Curated by Erin Blake


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Item Title: 
Imogen Entering the Cave of Belarius, (Cymbeline, Act III, Scene VI) [graphic].
Item Call Number: 
ART 268783
Item Creator: 
Westall, Richard, 1765-1836, artist.
Item Date: 
ca. 1795
This is one of two Boydell Shakespeare Gallery paintings recently added to the Folger collection.
Painted by Richard Westall, it depicts Imogen, the heroine of Shakespeare's play Cymbeline, entering a cave—a seemingly straightforward description. At one time, however, the painting's association with Shakespeare was forgotten, and the figure was misidentified as a young man.
In 2012, an art collector in New York purchased the painting at auction under the vague title Allegorical Scene of a Youth with a Sword Near a Cave. Fortunately, it was still attributed to Westall. By researching the artist, the collector discovered that it came from the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery and contacted the Folger. The Folger acquired it in 2012 under its Boydell title, Imogen Entering the Cave of Belarius.

See more paintings in Painting Shakespeare.