Elsa Lanchester

© the artist's estate. Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Actress. Lanchester took her mother's name as her stage name. She founded the Children's Theatre, Charlotte Street, Soho in 1918, and first appeared on stage in 1922. In 1929 she married Charles Laughton and in 1932 they moved to Hollywood. She co-starred with Laughton in a number of films including The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) and Rembrandt (1936) but was best known for the title role in the film The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Post-war films included Mary Poppins. She became an American citizen in 1950.
The portrait shows the actress in role, possibly as Nell Gwyn, in the early years of her stage career.

National Portrait Gallery, London



Elsa Lanchester


exhibited 1925


oil on canvas


H 91.6 x W 71.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased, 1999

Work type



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