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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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The Weird Sisters

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Weird Sisters
  • Description

    The three 'Weird Sisters' from Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', act 1, seen in profile to left with their left arms outstretched and pointing, their right to their lips, looking expectant, each wearing a hood; with bat-like creature with skull face flying at left. 10 March 1785

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1785
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 457 millimetres
    • Width: 558 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, short quote from 'Macbeth' and production and publication detail, all below image: "Painted by H. Fuseli", "Engraved by J.R. Smith Mezzotinto Engraver to/his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales" and "London Publish'd March 10th. 1785 by J.R. Smith No83 Oxford Street."
  • Curator's comments

    See D. Petherbridge, 'Witches and Wicked Bodies'. Exhibition catalogue Edinburgh 2013, cat No. 61

  • Bibliography

    • D'Oench 256 bibliographic details
    • Weinglass 73 bibliographic details
    • Chaloner Smith undescribed bibliographic details
  • Location

    British XVIIIc Mounted Atlas

  • Exhibition history

    2001 Jun-Sep, London, Tate Britain, 'Gillray and the Art of Caricature'
    2002 Apr-Jun, Paris, Cité de la Musique, L'Invention du Sentiment
    2013 Aug - Nov, Edinburgh, Scottish NG, Witches and Wicked Bodies
    2014-15, Sept - Jan, London, BM, Witches and Wicked Bodies

  • Associated names

  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: Macbeth (Act 1)
  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: PPA102617

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