Edwin Austin Abbey: Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and the Lady Anne

The Yale University Art Gallery — America’s oldest and one of its most important university art museums —was founded in 1832. Since then, the Gallery’s collections have grown to number more than 185,000 objects, spanning the globe and ranging in date from ancient times to the present. Yale’s collection of American art is among the best in the nation. It includes over 3,000 paintings, watercolors, prints, and drawings by Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911), an American artist known for his illustrations of the works of William Shakespeare. In conjunction with Shakespeare at Yale, the Gallery will display Abbey’s painting, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and the Lady Anne (1896), along with several preliminary studies. The painting depicts the scene from Shakespeare’s Richard III, in which the hunchbacked Richard proposes to the grieving Lady Anne who knows that he has murdered both her husband and her father-in-law, King Henry VI. The sketches show Abbey’s creative process as he moves Richard ever closer to the foreground, ultimately to command both the pictorial as well as the psychological space.