Framed oil painting: Charles Macklin as Shylock in ‘The Merchant of Venice' by William Shakespeare, Johan Zoffany (1733–1810), oil on canvas c.1768

Key information

Museum number

2010.2.6

Object

Framed oil painting: Charles Macklin as Shylock in ‘The Merchant of Venice' by William Shakespeare, Johan Zoffany (1733–1810), oil on canvas c.1768

Gallery label

Charles Macklin as Shylock in ‘The Merchant of Venice’
Johan Zoffany
(1733–1810)
Oil on canvas, about 1768

The Irish actor Charles Macklin (1699?–1797) was the first, probably since Shakespeare’s time, not to play the Jew Shylock as a comical clown. Instead, he studied the gestures and dress of Jewish traders in the City of London to create a serious, realistic characterisation.

Here Zoffany has depicted Macklin expressing Shylock’s cold fury at his daughter’s elopement with his jewels.

2010.2.6
The Somerset Maugham Collection, transferred from the National Theatre

On display?

No
image 2010-2-6-zoffany-shylock

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