Ellen Tree KeanEllen Tree Kean
English Actress
1805 – 1880 A.D.

Ellen Tree Kean, an English actress, wife of Charles John Kean. After playing in Bath and Birmingham, she made her London début at Drury Lane in 1826 as Violante in The Wonder. In 1829 she made her first appearance at Covent Garden where she became a favorite, and where she was seen in many parts, including Romeo to the Juliet of Fanny Kemble. From 1836 to 1839 she acted in American and on her return to England she appeared as the original Countess in Sheridan Knowles’s Love. On January 29, 1842 she married in Dublin, Charles Kean, playing the same evening Juliana in The Honeymoon.

Her history now became merged in that of her husband, with whom, long previous to her marriage, she had been in the habit of acting. During the twenty-six years of their marriage, they appeared together as Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean in all parts of the world. She accompanied him to America, and on all his country tours, enacting the heroines in the pieces in which he appeared. On Kean’s death in 1868 she retired from the stage.

Like her husband, Mrs. Kean met with much opposition in her early career, but later she was recognised [sic] as an actress of high position. She was essentially womanly in her art, and her Viola, Constance, and Katharine were fine performances.

Westland Marston declared in sympathetic emotion, as distinguished from stern and turbulent passion, no feminine artist of her time surpassed her. As a woman, Helen Faucit said of her:

“She had in youth much beauty and fascination, and in riper age was handsome and intellectual. An admirable wife, she supported her husband through all difficulties, exercising over him a constant and affectionate vigilance that warded him from many shafts and disarmed much prejudice.”



Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.