Bell’s Edition of Shaksper’s [sic] Works. Edited by Samuel Johnson, George Steevens]. [Several editions: ]
Dramatic Writings. 13 volumes, 1785-1787.
20 volumes, 1784-1788.

Dublin Core


Shakespeare's Works; actor/actress, performance;

Portraits: Abington, Mrs (Frances Barton), 1737-1815;
Bellamy, George Ann, 1731? -- 1788;
 Bulkley, Mary, 1748-1782;
Crouch, Anna Maria, 1763-1805;
Edwin, John;
Farren, Elizabeth, 1762-1829.
Philips, Anna Maria [Crouch], 1763-1805;
Siddons, Sarah, 1755-1831;
Lewis, William Thomas, 1746?-1812;
Henderson, John, 1747-1785;
Hunter, Maria [fl. 1774--1779];
Inchbald, Elizabeth, 1753-1821;
Kemble [Satchell], Elizabeth, 1762?--1841;
Kemble, John Philip, 1757-1823;
Macklin, Charles, 1699-1797;
Parsons, William, 1736--1795;
Quick, John, 1748--1831.
Stuart, Ann, d. 1809;.
Ward, Sarah (very. Thomas Achurch Ward?) 1756?--1838? ;
Wells, Mary, 1762--1829;
Brighten, Mary Ann, 1751-1796;


Vol. I. The Tempest (1785) Google book

Frontispiece [top] "Act I. TEMPEST. scene 1."
------------O! the cry did knock / against my very heart. Poor souls! they perish'd." 
Sign. "Ramberg, Sherwin & Grignion fect."
"Full-length, standing on rocks by the sea, her left arm stretched out, her right hand at her right side holding the end of long veil; wearing a long dress with a sash at waist." (Burnim no. 19).
Engraving also  Folger Shakespeare Library.
  Description without image / Radierung oh. Abb. mit Beschr. British Museum

[put in

Mrs. Wells 1786 Folger Shakespeare Library
r. Kemble engraving 1785 Folger Shakespeare Library
r. Kemble 1785 Folger Shakespeare Library
r. Macklin 1785  Folger Shakespeare Library and no date (ART File M158.8 no.15)

Vol. III. Google book (different edition, no. 34)
Frontispiece 1.
[top] "Act 4. TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA. Scene 3d." 
"Mr. QUICK in LAUNCE. / Here I have brought him back again." Sign. "Rhamberg delt. Grignion sculpt." 
"Full-length, standing outdoors holding a dog on leash; wearing breeches, waist-coat, a short jacket, and a floppy hat." (Burnim no. 58) 
(Mann nach links schreitend, groteske Miene, großer schwarzer Hund an der Leine. Digitalisat auch BSB München, British Museum Ee,5.78, 
Mr. Quick 1785 also  Folger Shakespeare Library

[Frontispiece 2 "The Two Genlemen of Verona" by Burney/Smith]

Vol. IV. 
Frontispiece 1.
So angle we for Beatrice; who even now / is couched in the Woodbine Coverture."
Sign. "Ramberg del.t C. Sherwin sc"
"Full-length, standing to front in a wood, her left hand raised and her right arm extended at her side; wearing a dress with a voluminous skirt and train and a hat with plumes." (Burnim no. 2)
Scan edition 1818 google books
British Museum K,57.2 (and several more)
Frontispiece 2 not by Ramberg

IV. Merry Wives of Windsor. Google book
Frontispiece 1
[top] "Act 4. MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. Scene 5."
"Mr. Henderson in FALSTAFF. / Here is a letter will say somewhat."
Sign. "Rhamberg [sic] delt. Grignion sculpt."
"Full-length, standing to front, holding paper in right hand, left hand on heart, with a cane hanging from left wrist; wearing a tunic over his padded stomach, a short jacket, trousers with fringes at bottom, a ruff, gauntlets, and a floppy hat, with a sword at left side." (Burnim no. 31)
Engraving 1784 also Folger Shakespeare Library

Frontispiece 2: 
Not after Ramberg

Vol. V. Google books
[top] "Act 5. MEASURE for MEASURE. Scene 1. /
Justice, O royal Duke! visit your regard / Upon a wrong'd, I would fain have said, a Maid!"
Sign. "H. Ramberg del. Hall sculpt."
"Full-length, to right, arms extended, beseeching; wearing a voluminous habit and a long scarf that hangs from the back of her head around her left arm and body, a crucifix and beads at her waist." (Burnim no. 63)

V. Scan Google books
"Act V. COMEDY of ERRORS. Scene 1."
"Mrs. INCHBALD in the Character of LADY ABBESS.
"O, if thou best the same Aegean, speak, / speak unto the same Amelia!"
Sign. "Ramberg delt    C Sherwin sculpt"
"Full-length, standing, face slightly left, right arm extended right, left hand raised left; wearing a long dress with train, a veil hanging from the back of head, and a crucifix on chain hanging from waist." (Burnim 39)
Mrs. Inchbald engraving 1785 Folger Shakespeare Library
With description but without illustration, British Museum K,61.24. 

Vol VI. Google books
[top] "Act 2. MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Scene 3."
"MISS FARREN in the character of HERMIA. /
Help me Lysander. Help me! do thy best, / To pluck this crawling Serpent from my Breast."
Sign. "Ramberg delt. Newnham sculpt."
Full-Length, seated on a mound in the forest, starting from sleep; wearing a long dress with a sash at the waist and a long train of fabric hanging down from the back of her head. (Burnim Nr. 25)
Scan with description also  British Museum  K,59.209

VI  Vol. 3. Google books
[top] "Act V. LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST. Scene 2."
Twenty Adieus my frozen Muscovites."
Sign. "Ramberg delt. Thornthwaite sculp."
"Full-length, standing in a wooded landscape, holding mask in upraised hand, her left hand extended down to side; wearing a long dress wit cord belt." (Burnim nr. 17)

[Frontispiece 2 not by Ramberg]

Vol. VII.  Merchant of Venice, As you like it Google book (without illustration), Google book 1811 edition. 

[top] "Act 4th. MERCHANT OF VENICE Scene 1st." 
"Mr. MACKLIN in Shylock.

Most learned Judge! a Sentence; come, prepare."
Sign. "Ramberg delt. Cook sculpt."
Full-length, standing, holding knife and scales; wearing long coat and skullcap." (Burnim no. 49) In Oval.
Also in British Museum with description.

[Frontispiece 2; different artist?]

[Top] "Act IV. AS YOU LIKE IT. Scene 3."
Was it you he rescued?"
Sign. " Ramberg delt. Thornthwaite scu."
"Full-length, standing in a forest, looking to right, with a staff in her right hand; wearing breeches, a large cloak, and a hot with feathers." (Burnim no. 3) 

Vol. VIII. Taming of the Shrew, All's Well that Ends Well. Google books
[top] "Taming of the Shrew.
Sign. "Ramberg del.    Thornthwait sculpt." 
Full-length, standing to left, face front; wearing hat with a plume and a long dress with sash at waist; in a room, with a window behind. " (Burnim no. 75) Oval within a rectancle.
Description also  British Museum 

Dramatic Writings. Vol. 1. The Winter's Tale. Twelth Night. Comedy of Errors.

[top] "Act 4th THE WINTER'S TALE. Scene 3rd." [recte IV.2]
"Prosper you, Sweet Sir! ---your / Purse is not hot enough to purchase your Spice."
Sign. "Rhamberg [sic] del.   Grignion sc." [+publisher 1785]
"Full-length, standing in a wooded landscape with a picket fence behind, holding up a purse in left hand, right hand on hip; wearing rustic clothing." (Burnim no. 24)

"Mr EDWIN in AUTOLiCUS " also British Museum K,59.155 with description: "full-length in tattered clothes and hat, standing holding up a little bag in his left hand, right on his hip, in a landscape with a wooden fence behind".

Frontispiece zu Twelth Night (1806)
[top] ""Act TWELFTH NIGHT Scene"

"Ramberg delt Grignion & Bartolozzi Sculpt" [+ publisher 1785].
"Full-length, standing to front on a terrace with balustrade and trees behind, playing a lute; wearing a long flowing dress and a small hat with feathers." (Burnim nr. 26). Ballustrade in background.
Scan with description also British Museum K,59.207.


Vol. [?]. Twelth Night. Google book

Dodd as Sir Andrew Aguecheek
[not Ramberg]

Vol. X.  Macbeth. Google book

[top] "Act 5. MACBETH. Line 33." [scene 1]
Yet here's a Spot."
Sign. "H. Ramberg delt. Delattre sc."
"Full-length, walking in sleep away from her bed, her hands extended to right, a candle in her right hand; wearing a long nightdress." (Burnim no. 64)
Without inscriptions  in Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt.

Vol. X 
"The first part of King Henry IV. /
Mr. Lewis in the character of the Prince of Wales /
Jes, Jack, upon instinct." 
Sign. "H. Ramberg, del. 1785"

Vol XI. King Henry VI. Part 1. google book, also Google book

[top] "Act 1. HENRY VI. PT. I. Scene 6."
Advance our waving colours on the walls; /
Rescued in Orleans."
Sign. "Ramberg delt. Newnham sculpt." 
"Full-length, standing outdoors, spear in right hand, left hand extended; wearing a long dress with underskirt; a wall and some soldiers behind her." (Burnim no. 67).

Miss Stuart 1786 also Folger Shakespeare Library;
Scan with description also  British Museum K, 65.34. 

Vol. XII. Henry IV. Part 2. Google book

[top] "Act V.    KING HENRY IIII. part 2.     Scene 3."
I beseech ye good Sir John, let me / have five hundred of my thousand."
Sign. "Ramberg delt. Grignion sc."
"Full-length, standing in a street, with view of Westminster Abbey in background; holding a cane and wearing breeches, coat, cape, and a hat with feather." (Burnim no. 54)
Scan with description British Museum 

Vol. 14. King Henry VI. Part 3. King Richard III. Google books

"Act I   KING RICHARD III.     Scene 2"
"Either heaven with lightning strike the murderer dead. / Or earth gape open wide, and eat him quick." 
Sign. [Anon. after Ramberg] + publication detail, 1785. (Harvard Theatre Collection, 1785) 
Description: "Full-length, standing in front of an arch, body twisted to right, left arm extended right; wearing a long dress with train and a headpiece with a long scarf down back." (Burnim no. 38)
Scan with description also British Museum. 

[other engravings not Ramberg]

Vol. XVI. 

[top] "Act 2. JULIUS CAESAR. Scene 1."
"Mrs. WARD in PORTIA. /
Dear my Lord, /
Make me acquainted with your Cause of Grief."
Sign. "Ramberg delt. C. Sherwan Engraver to his Majesty sculpt."
"Full-length, standing to left, arms extended; wearing a long dress with sash around waist and a long veil hanging from the back of her head down over her right arm." (Burnim no. 69)
Mrs. Ward 1785 also Folger Shakespeare Library; scan with description British Museum K,66.37. 

Plate 3. 
On podest for tondo: "JULIUS CAESAR / And Caesar's Spirit ranging for revenge / With Até by his side come hot from hell / Act 3 / Scene I."
Sign. "Rhamberg delt.    S. Sharp sculpt." [sic] + publication detail 1785.
In tondo: Caesar's body lying at the foot of the statue of Pompey, covering his head with his robe, with Mark Anthony to right, kneeling beside him and looking up, gesturing as he promises revenge. (British Museum)
Eagle on top of the tondo, over "SHA[KES]PERE". 

Vol. XVII. Google book
[top] "Act 4. TIMON of ATHENS. Scene 3."
Sign. "Ramberg delt. Sharp sculpt."
"Full-length to front, seated on a rock, dropping coins from his extended right arm, his right foot on an overturned jar; coins scattered on the ground; wearing a rustic tunic, with bare arms and legs." (Burnim no. 43)

Vol. XVIII. Hamlet, Titus Andronicus. Google books
Engraving 1 not Ramberg

[top] "Act 3. HAMLET. Scene 4."
"Mr. KEMBLE in HAMLET. / A Bloody deed! ; almost as bad good Mother / as kill a King & marry with his Brother."
Sign. "Ramberg delt.   Cook sculpt."
"Depicts a wild-haired Hamlet, just after Polonius has been killed. Standing with legs wide apart, he holds his sword horizontally across his body and points towards the arras. With his left arm extended, he points down to Polonius's hand which protrudes on the floor from behind the arras." (Burnim no. 41) Oval

Engraving 3 not Ramberg (not legible / Thornthwaite)

Vol. XIX. Google book

[top] "Act 3. OTHELLO Scene 3."
Iago. --------but such a handkerchief -- / (I am sure it was your wife's) did I to day / see Cassio wipe his beard with."
Sign. "Ramberg delt. Thornthwaite sculpt."
" Full-length, standing, right arm across chest, right forefinger pointing over left shoulder; wearing long coat, breeches, and cloak; the walls at the corner of a room are behind." (Burnim S. 55, 187)
Engraving also Folger Shakespeare Library
Scan and description also British Museum;

[top] "Act V.   OTHELLO.    Scene 2."
"Mrs. SIDDONS in DESDEMONA, / Siddons as Desdemona in "Othello" (V.2): "Talk you of killing?" [+publishing information Bell 1785]
Sign. "Ramberg delt    C. Sherwin sc."
Full length, seated on bed, right arm raised; wearing a nightgown and nightcap; a large blancket over her legs. (Burnim no. 62). Oval in rectangular frame. 
Scan and description also British Museum.

Vol. XX. Google book
[top] "Act V.    ROMEO AND JULIET.   Scene 3. /
Mrs. KEMBLE in the Character of JULIET. /
Yea noise? -- then I'll be brief -- O Happy Dagger!"
Sign. "Ramberg del. Ch. Sherwin sculpt."
"Full-length, kneeling beside the prostrate Romeo, and thrusting a dagger into her breast; a scarf extends from her head to her right hand, which is thrust out to her right." (Burnim nr. 40)
Description also British Museum K 61.165.

Vol. [...]
[top] "Act 3.    CYMBELINE.    Scene 6. /
 "Mrs WELLS in IMOGEN. / Ho! --- No answer? then I'll enter."
Sign. "Ramberg delt. ; C. Sherwin sculpt." + publication detail, 1786. 
Mary Wells, whole length, standing, to the left, entering cave, right arm outstretched, left on hilt of sword; wearing hat with feather. (Burnim 71)
Scan and description also  British Museum


Digitalisat Ex. BSB München.
Folger Shakespeare Library; British Museum


London: J. Bell

Engravings also "London Printed for J. Bell, British Library Strand, Novr. 24th, 1785."


Spätere Ausgabe: "Printed for John Cawthorn [...] 1805-1806".


Delattre, J. M. ;
Hall, J. ;
Sherwin, Charles (printmaker);
Bartolozzi, F. ;
Grignion, Charles 1721-1810
Thornthwaite, J., b. 1740, printmaker
Newnham, S.
Sharp, William, 1749-1824, printmaker
Cook, Thomas, ca. 1744-1818, printmaker.
Harcourt, George Simon Harcourt, Earl, 1736-1809, printmaker.
Sherwin, Charles, 1764-1794, printmaker.


James William Dodd as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelth Night, not engraved. Drawing not extant (Burnim no. 21)

Drawings of engravings above: [to do: order new]

"King Henry IV. pt. 1", drawing 1785
"Mrs. Siddons" Drawing pen and ink wash in Folger Shakespeare Library
Mr. Lewis" drawing Folger Shakespeare Library 

Drawing Cymbeline, untitled.
Act I, scene 1. 
Relates to text: Posthumus: "... For my sake wear this; / It is a manacle of love; I'll place it / upon this fairest prisoner. [Puts a bracelot on her arm.] Oh the Gods!" 
172x120mm. (Hannover NL; scan Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt).

Drawing Hamlet, no inscription.
Act III, scene 4. Closet scene.
11x7.2 cm. (Hannover, NL; scan Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt)

Drawing Hamlet, titled "Ophelia".
Act IV, scene 5. 
148x126mm. (Hannover, LM; scan Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt)

Drawing "Julius Caesar III.1", "Ant: Over thy wounds do I prophecy."
13x8.1 cm; British Museum (scan Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt)

Drawing The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act III, scene 3
dated 1788. 
[no text but relates to] Falstaff: ... [Gets into the basket; they cover him with foul linen]
(Hannover, NL; scan Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt)

Drawing, untitled. 
Othello, Act V, scene 2
Tondo, 75mm. 
Othello with drawn sword murders Desdemona. Relates to text: "I'll not shed the blook, / Nor .. "
Hannover, NL; scan Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt). 

Drawing [The Tempest, Act I, scene 2]
Prospero: "Hence! Hang not on my garments!"
Drawing, signed Ramberg, dated 1784 (Hannover, NL; scan  Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt)

Drawing The Tempest, Act I, scene 2
dated 1788 
[no text, relates to] Miranda: "What is't? a spirit? / Lord, how it looks about! Believe me, sir, / It carries a brave form. But 'tis a spirit." 
(Hannover, NL; scan Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt)

Drawing The Tempest, Act I, scene 2
(Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett; scan Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt)

Drawing Richard III, Act V, scene III
dated 1784, 8.2 x 13.8 cam. 
[relates to text: Ghosts: [to Richard] "Dream on thy ... in the Tower." 
Hannover LM; scan on Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt; 

Drawing Macbeth, Act I, scene 3
not signed; attributed by Hammerschmidt-Hummel, previously to Füssli. (Frankfurt, Städel; scan Bildarchiv Oppel-Hammerschmidt.

[Georg Ann Bellamy as the Comic Muse, F. Bartolozzi after Ramberg (and F. Cotes), John Bell, 1785. Three-quarter length, standing beside drapery, holding a mask in her left hand; she has a feather in hair and wears a dress with V neck and a sash around the waist." (Burnim no. 104). 

"Julius Caesar". London: Geo. Kearsley, 1805. “Julius Caesar / And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge, with Ate by his side, come hot from hell ... act III, sc. 1” “drawn by Rhemberg [sic] – Engrav'd by Newton.” Abweichung: hier oben nur “Shakspeare” [Antony in Chiton u. Schal kniet hinter dem Leichnam von Caesar, der auf Stufen liegt, Augen und Arme nach oben gerichtet; Innenraum, in Türöffnung Figuren angedeutet. Scan Folger.

Mr Macklin in Shylock" (engraving 1806) with description, no image in British Museum
 Ward as Portia, R. Woodman after Ramberg, published by Cawthorn, 1807. 
"Mr. Quick in Launce" (anon. after Ramberg), vignette published by Cawthorne 1806. 
Miss Phillips in Miranda, Leney after Ramberg, published by Cawthorn, 1805. 
Engraving Sarah Siddons in "Measure for Measure" (E. Scriven after Ramberg, 1808)
Mrs. Siddons in Lady Macbeth (published by Cawthron, 1806)
Mrs. Ward in Portia (R. Woodman after Ramberg, published by Cawthorn, 1807)
"Mrs. Abington" engraving in Folger Shakespeare 
Mrs. Abington as Beatrice, Wl. Leney after Ramberg, published after Cawthorn, 1807

Engravings in other volumes not by Ramberg
[to do: move here]

[top] "Act V. KING HENRY V. Scene 2."
"Mrs. SIDDONS in PRINCESS KATHERINE. / Kath. Is it possible dat I should love the enemy of France?" 
Sign. "Burney delt.   Thornthwaite sculpt."

Vol. 11. King Richard II. King Henry IV, part 1. 1788. Google book

Vol. 14. King Henry VI. Part 3. King Richard III. 1788. Google book


3 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. / 124 mm. h x 92 mm w.




John Bell, Patron of British Theatrical Portraiture: A Catalog of the Theatrical Portraits in His Editions of ‘Bell’s Shakespeare’ and ‘Bell’s British Theatre’. Hg. Kalman A. Burnim, Philip H. Highfill. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University PressP, 1998.

There are many more portraits in this edition, than in the earlier "acting" editions of Shakespeare. In the Prolegomena alone, there are 8 portraits, as well as several engravings of places and things related to Shakespeare. Throughout the rest of the collection, each play has between 2 and 4 character portraits, featuring prominent actors in the roles. In contrast to the engravings of the earlier edition, these portraits have oval borders and lush backgrounds. The actors themselves are rendered in a much softer, more romantic style.
The artists Bell commissioned were all under the age of 25 and relatively unknown. Most notable among them was the young Johan Heinrich Ramberg, who had come to England from Hanover under the patronage of George III. It is because of these young artists that these portraits are so different from those in the "acting" edition. Ramberg brought with him a European aesthetic, and all the artists brought the burgeoning romantic artistic trends to the drawing boards. - See more at:

No photos available.