"Immortality of Garrick"

The image known as "Immortality of Garrick" or "Apotheosis of Garrick" by George Carter memorializes the actor David Garrick (1717-1779). In the image, many of the actor's friends and colleagues mourn him, dressed as the Shakespeare characters they enjoyed playing. This article shows the painting and its subsequent engraving, alongside a transcription of a manuscript key to the actors and actresses, held by the Folger Shakespeare Library. For more information about David Garrick's life and art, read the Folgerpedia article David Garrick, 1717–1779: A Theatrical Life, one of the previous Exhibitions at the Folger.


Immortality of Garrick, Folger call number: ART File G241 no.124 copy 1 (size XL)

Transcription of the Key

Key to the actors and actresses depicted in George Carter’s "Immortality of Garrick"

Folger call number: ART Box G241 no.4a-b

A Key to the Print of "Immortality of Garrick”

They are all in their favorite Characters of Shakespeare.

The Apotheosis of Garrick

  1. Mrs. Yates as Isabella in Measure for Measure.
  2. Miss Young as Cordelia in Lear.
  3. Mrs. Abingdon as Beatrice in Much Ado ab. Nothing
  4. Miss Pope as Mrs. Page Merry Wives
  5. Mrs. Hartley as Desdemona in Othello.
  6. Mr. Bensley as Prospero in The Tempest.
  7. Mr. Smith as Hamlet
  8. Mr. Packer as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet
  9. Mr. Yates as Malvolio in Twelfth Night.
  10. Mr. Palmer as Iachimo in Cymbeline
  11. Mr. Hull as Pisanio in Cymbeline
  12. Mr. King as Touchstone in As You Like It
  13. Mr. Vernon as Thurio in Two Gentlemen of Verona
  14. Mr. Baddeley as Dr. Caius in Merry Wives of Windsor
  15. Mr. Moody as Adam in As You Like It
  16. Mr. Brereton as Orlando in Ibid.
  17. Mr. Parsons as Grave-digger in Hamlet


A sarcophagus, supported by Lyric Poetry and the Belles Lettres, in the Center is a Basso Relievo of Nature deploring the loss of her Son; she is weeping over a Medallion of Garrick; attending are two Loves, one with a Bow unstrung, the other extinguishing the Hymenical Torch; beneath, are Emblems of her Art, and this Motto--”He never shall return” with a group of seventeen of his Friends who had figured it upon the great Theatre of Life with him, and are come in their favorite Habits of Shakespeare, to pay their Funeral Obsequies to his Shrine; while aereails [angels] triumph over Death, by soaring with the Body to Parnassus; Thalia; Melpomne, and Shakespeare advance with Wreaths to receive him, to conduct him to the Summit of the Mount, and to the Presence of Apollo and the Muses.