Ellen Terry (English, 1847-1928)

Born to a theatrical family, Terry was a leading actress of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries whose career in stage and early film lasted seven decades. She began performing as a child, touring Britain and acting in Shakespeare plays. She was a muse for creatives involved with the Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic movements, dating or maintaining friendships with poet Robert Browning, photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, prime ministers William Ewart Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, architect Edward William Godwin, writer George Bernard Shaw, poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, and author Oscar Wilde. Terry gave an acclaimed performance as Portia in The Merchant of Venice that inspired Oscar Wilde to write a sonnet, while John Singer Sargent painted Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth in 1889. She was soon regarded as the leading Shakespearean and comedic actress in Britain and America. Terry continued to find success on stage and appeared in films from 1916 to 1922. During this time, she lectured on Shakespeare throughout England and North America.