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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Barry Sullivan, c. 1870

Davies & Co

carte de visite photograph (support: 10.2 cm x 6.3 cm, image: 9.3 cm x 5.9 cm)

More images of this artwork

Barry Sullivan (1821-1891), English actor, performed on the Melbourne stage between 1862 and 1866. As a teenager, he joined a strolling company and by 1837 he was in Cork, appearing in Shakespearean plays featuring Charles Kean, the great actor of his day. By 1844 Sullivan was taking leading parts in Scotland, and in 1852 he played Hamlet at the Haymarket, London. After eighteen months in the USA, he arrived in Melbourne in mid-1862 to play Hamlet at the Theatre Royal. Playing Richelieu, Richard III, Macbeth, and Othello and Iago alternately, he proceeded to Sydney but returned to Melbourne to take on the management of the Theatre Royal after William Lyster finished his season. Although Charles Kean himself was appearing at the Haymarket from late 1863, Sullivan retained his popularity until he left Melbourne in February 1866, warmly farewelled by leading citizens who praised his ‘genius, application, assiduity, energy, and everything else which went to make a great actor’. Followed closely in the Melbourne press, his theatrical career continued in London, North America, Dublin, Cork, Liverpool and Manchester until he made his last appearance as Richard III in Liverpool in 1887. Following a stroke in 1888, he languished for three years before his death in May 1891, which was marked by fond obituaries in the Melbourne papers.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2018

Accession number: 2018.134

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Davies & Co

Barry Sullivan (age 49 in 1870)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.