Collection Online
Elizabeth Farren as Hermione in The Winter's Tale

Elizabeth Farren as Hermione in The Winter's Tale
(c. 1780)

oil on canvas
243.3 × 166.0 cm irreg. (image) 244.2 × 166.7 cm irreg. (canvas)
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Everard Studley Miller Bequest, 1967
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
17th to 18th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Elizabeth Farren (1759–1829),the daughter of a surgeon and actor from Cork, first appeared as an actress at the Haymarket theatre in 1777. By 1780 she was one of the most admired actresses of her day. She retired from the stage in 1797 when she married the 12th Earl of Derby. One of her most successful roles was as Hermione in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. In this portrait, which recently underwent conservation, she is depicted in the final scene of the play, when Hermione, who has been presumed dead and has been posing as a statue, comes to life.


The frame on Johan Zoffany’s Elizabeth Farren as Hermione in ‘The Winter’s Tale ‘, c.1780, is an English frame from the mid C18th., perhaps from 1750-60.
A very similar swept edge frame has been noted on Reynold’s Mrs Abingdon, 1771, in the Yale Centre for British Art.

The frame has been extended by adding about 6 inches to the height and 6 inches to the width, the addition of approximately 3 inches either side of each centre. Prior to cleaning and restoration in 2015 the overall width of the section had also been increased by an additional decorative strip at the sight edge. The frame had also suffered from wear and tear. The high points of the outer swept profile had been broken and worn, flattening the movement around the outer edge. It is shown here cleaned, repaired and with the additional strip at the sight edge removed, fitted to the cleaned and restored painting. Previously the frame covered an extra margin of the painting on all sides.

Also provided here is an image of the frame in its original proportions, created digitally.
The frame reads best in this form. The curves are more symmetrical and the overall impact more balanced.

The painting was cleaned and restored in 2015.

Unknown - 18th century
c. 1750-60

Carved wood and gold leaf


Extended in height and width, re-surfaced, carving repaired