Painting of The Alchemist

Painting of The Alchemist

Full length portrait of Benjamin Griffin and Benjamin Johnson as Tribulation and Ananias in Act III, Scene 2 of The Alchemist by Ben Jonson.

Ben Jonson, a contemporary of Shakespeare, died in 1637, but his works were still popular well into the 18th century. His scholarly and sophisticated witticisms appealed to Restoration audiences, and The Alchemist was regularly revived. Set in Blackfriars in the heart of London, this comedy is about two conmen, Subtle and Face. Subtle poses as an alchemist (someone who claimed he could turn base metals into gold). Tribulation and Ananias, pastors of an Amsterdam church, are two of the ‘gulls’ who fall victim to the scam.