Shakespeare Connected - Ageless Cleopatra
Charles Knight’s extra illustrated edition of the play includes cut-outs of Cleopatra as imagined by nineteenth-century English artists, in this case, the etcher William Henry Mote (right) and the engraver Joseph Brown (below).
Despite being a powerful woman, Cleopatra has been orientalised – or made to seem exotic and sensual – throughout Western history. In the play, Egypt is presented as an openly sexual society.
The queen did indeed wear make-up around her eye; this was made of coal and had medical benefits. Cleopatra also wore many jewels and was famed for her perfume (in fact, she owned a perfume factory near the Dead Sea).
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