Colour print of Fanny Kemble

Colour print of Fanny Kemble

Fanny, the daughter of Charles Kemble, was hugely popular, rescuing her family and the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden at a time when it was struggling. In 1832 she went to America and was as great a success there as she had been at home. Despite her popularity, she was a reluctant performer, and only worked in the theatre when poverty made it essential. Portia however, she described as 'my favouritist of all Shakespeare's women'. In America, Fanny Kemble met and married Pierce Butler who owned a plantation in Georgia. Once she became aware of the conditions of slaves on the plantation, she left him and returned to Europe. She lived by acting and writing and published a number of anti-slavery works. Once Butler had been granted a divorce, she returned to America where she supported herself by giving Shakespearean readings.