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David Garrick

David Garrick

Overview
David Garrick was an English actor, playwright, theatre manager
Actor-manager
An actor-manager is a leading actor who sets up their own permanent theatrical company and manages the company's business and financial arrangements, sometimes taking over the management of a theatre, to perform plays of their own choice and in which they will usually star...

 and producer
Theatrical producer
A theatrical producer is the person ultimately responsible for overseeing all aspects of mounting a theatre production. The independent producer will usually be the originator and finder of the script and starts the whole process...

 who influenced nearly all aspects of theatrical practice throughout the 18th century and was a pupil and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson. He appeared in a number of amateur theatricals, and with his appearance in the title role of Shakespeare's Richard III
Richard III (play)
Richard III is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1591. It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign of Richard III of England. The play is grouped among the histories in the First Folio and is most often classified...

audiences and managers began to take notice. Impressed by his portrayals of Richard III and a number of other roles, Charles Fleetwood engaged Garrick for a season at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is a West End theatre in Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, a borough of London. The building faces Catherine Street and backs onto Drury Lane. The building standing today is the most recent in a line of four theatres at the same location dating back to 1663,...

.
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Encyclopedia
David Garrick was an English actor, playwright, theatre manager
Actor-manager
An actor-manager is a leading actor who sets up their own permanent theatrical company and manages the company's business and financial arrangements, sometimes taking over the management of a theatre, to perform plays of their own choice and in which they will usually star...

 and producer
Theatrical producer
A theatrical producer is the person ultimately responsible for overseeing all aspects of mounting a theatre production. The independent producer will usually be the originator and finder of the script and starts the whole process...

 who influenced nearly all aspects of theatrical practice throughout the 18th century and was a pupil and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson. He appeared in a number of amateur theatricals, and with his appearance in the title role of Shakespeare's Richard III
Richard III (play)
Richard III is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1591. It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign of Richard III of England. The play is grouped among the histories in the First Folio and is most often classified...

audiences and managers began to take notice. Impressed by his portrayals of Richard III and a number of other roles, Charles Fleetwood engaged Garrick for a season at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is a West End theatre in Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, a borough of London. The building faces Catherine Street and backs onto Drury Lane. The building standing today is the most recent in a line of four theatres at the same location dating back to 1663,...

. He remained with the Drury Lane company for the next five years and purchased a share of the theatre with James Lacy. This purchase inaugurated twenty-nine years of Garrick's management of the Drury Lane, during which time, it rose to prominence as one of the leading theatres in Europe. At his death, three years after his retirement from Drury Lane and the stage, he was given a lavish public funeral at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 where he was laid in Poets' Corner
Poets' Corner
Poets' Corner is the name traditionally given to a section of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey because of the number of poets, playwrights, and writers buried and commemorated there. The most recent additions were a memorial floor stone unveiled in 2009 for the founders of the Royal Ballet...

.

As an actor, Garrick promoted realistic acting that departed from the bombastic style that was entrenched when Garrick first came to prominence. His acting delighted many audiences and his direction of many of the top actors of the English stage influenced their styles as well. Furthermore, during his tenure as manager of Drury Lane, Garrick sought to reform audience behaviour. While this led to some discontent among the theatre-going public, many of his reforms eventually did take hold. In addition to audiences, Garrick sought reform in production matters, bringing an over-arching consistency to productions that included set design, costumes and even special effects.

Garrick's influence extended into the literary side of theatre as well. Critics are almost unanimous in saying he was not a good playwright, but his work in bringing Shakespeare to contemporary audiences is notable. In addition, he adapted many older plays in the repertoire that might have been forgotten. These included many plays of the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 era. Indeed, while influencing the theatre towards a better standard he also gained a better reputation for theatre folk. This accomplishment led Samuel Johnson to remark that "his profession made him rich and he made his profession respectable."

Early life


Garrick was born at Hereford
Hereford
Hereford is a cathedral city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the River Wye, approximately east of the border with Wales, southwest of Worcester, and northwest of Gloucester...

, into a family with French Huguenot roots that could be traced to the Languedoc
Languedoc
Languedoc is a former province of France, now continued in the modern-day régions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées in the south of France, and whose capital city was Toulouse, now in Midi-Pyrénées. It had an area of approximately 42,700 km² .-Geographical Extent:The traditional...

 region of Southern France
Southern France
Southern France , colloquially known as le Midi is defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Gironde, Spain, the Mediterranean, and Italy...

. Garrick's grandfather, David Garric, was in Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

 in 1685 when the Edict of Nantes
Edict of Nantes
The Edict of Nantes, issued on 13 April 1598, by Henry IV of France, granted the Calvinist Protestants of France substantial rights in a nation still considered essentially Catholic. In the Edict, Henry aimed primarily to promote civil unity...

 was abolished, revoking the rights of Protestants in France. David Garric fled to London and his son Peter, who was an infant at the time, was later smuggled out by a nurse when he was deemed old enough to make the journey. David Garric became a British subject upon his arrival in Britain and anglicized the name to Garrick. At the time of David Garrick's birth in 1717, the family was living in the city of Hereford
Hereford
Hereford is a cathedral city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the River Wye, approximately east of the border with Wales, southwest of Worcester, and northwest of Gloucester...

 moving to Lichfield
Lichfield
Lichfield is a cathedral city, civil parish and district in Staffordshire, England. One of eight civil parishes with city status in England, Lichfield is situated roughly north of Birmingham...

, home to Garrick's mother, shortly after his birth. His father, Captain Peter Garrick, was an army recruiting officer stationed, through most of young Garrick's childhood, in Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

. Garrick was the third of five children and his younger brother, George (1723–1779), would be an aide to David for the remainder of his life. Playwright and actor, Charles Dibdin
Charles Dibdin
Charles Dibdin was a British musician, dramatist, novelist, actor and songwriter. The son of a parish clerk, he was born in Southampton on or before 4 March 1745, and was the youngest of a family of 18....

, recorded that George, discovering his brother's absence would often inquire "Did David want me?" Upon Garrick's death in 1779, it was noted that George died forty-eight hours later, leading some to speculate that "David wanted him." His nephew, Nathan Garrick, married Martha Leigh
Edward Leigh
Edward Julian Egerton Leigh is a British Conservative politician. He has sat in the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for Gainsborough in Lincolnshire since 1997, and for its predecessor constituency of Gainsborough and Horncastle between 1983 and 1997...

, daughter of Sir Egerton Leigh, Bart
Leigh Baronets
There have been six Baronetcies created for persons with the surname Leigh, two in the Baronetage of England, one in the Baronetage of Ireland, one in the Baronetage of Great Britain and two in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom...

 and sister of Sir Samuel Egerton Leigh, author of Munster Abbey; a Romance: Interspersed with Reflections on Virtue and Morality (Edinburgh 1797).


At the age of nineteen, Garrick, who had been educated at Lichfield Grammar School, enrolled in Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson , often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer...

's Edial Hall School
Edial Hall School
Edial Hall School was a school established in 1735 by Samuel Johnson at Edial, near Lichfield. Here, Johnson taught Latin and Greek to young gentlemen...

. Garrick showed an enthusiasm for the theatre very early on and he appeared in a school production around this time in the role of Sergeant Kite in George Farquhar
George Farquhar
George Farquhar was an Irish dramatist. He is noted for his contributions to late Restoration comedy, particularly for his plays The Recruiting Officer and The Beaux' Stratagem .-Early life:...

's The Recruiting Officer
The Recruiting Officer
The Recruiting Officer is a 1706 play by the Irish writer George Farquhar, which follows the social and sexual exploits of two officers, the womanising Plume and the cowardly Brazen, in the town of Shrewsbury to recruit soldiers...

. After Johnson's school was closed, he and Garrick, now friends, travelled to London together in order to seek their fortunes. Upon his arrival in 1737, Garrick and his brother became partners in a wine business with operations in both London and Lichfield with David taking the London operation. The business did not flourish, possibly due to Garrick's distraction by amateur theatricals. Playwright Samuel Foote
Samuel Foote
Samuel Foote was a British dramatist, actor and theatre manager from Cornwall.-Early life:Born into a well-to-do family, Foote was baptized in Truro, Cornwall on 27 January 1720. His father, John Foote, held several public positions, including mayor of Truro, Member of Parliament representing...

 remarked that he had known Garrick to have only three quarts of vinegar
Vinegar
Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid and water, the acetic acid being produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional...

 in his cellar and still calling himself a wine merchant.


In 1740, four years after Garrick's arrival in London and with his wine business failing, he saw his first play, a satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

, Lethe: or Aesop in the Shade, produced at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is a West End theatre in Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, a borough of London. The building faces Catherine Street and backs onto Drury Lane. The building standing today is the most recent in a line of four theatres at the same location dating back to 1663,...

. Within a year he was appearing professionally playing small parts at the Goodman's Fields Theatre
Goodman's Fields Theatre
Two 18th century theatres bearing the name Goodman's Fields Theatre were located on Ayliffe Street, Whitechapel, London. The first opened on 31 October 1727 in a small shop by Thomas Odell, deputy Licenser of Plays. The first play performed was George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer. Henry...

 under the management of Henry Giffard. The Goodman's Fields Theatre had been shuttered by the Licensing Act of 1737 which closed all theatres that did not hold the letters patent
Patent theatre
The patent theatres were the theatres that were licensed to perform "spoken drama" after the English Restoration of Charles II in 1660. Other theatres were prohibited from performing such "serious" drama, but were permitted to show comedy, pantomime or melodrama...

 and required all plays to be approved by the Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is one of the chief officers of the Royal Household in the United Kingdom and is to be distinguished from the Lord Great Chamberlain, one of the Great Officers of State....

 before performance. Garrick's performances at the theatre was a result of Giffard's help with Garrick's wine business. Giffard had helped Garrick win the business of the Bedford Coffee-house, an establishment patronized by many theatrical and literary people and a location Garrick frequented.

Professional actor


He made his debut as a professional actor at Ipswich in 1741 in Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave, a play by the British dramatist Thomas Southerne. He also joined a summer tour to Ipswich
Ipswich
Ipswich is a large town and a non-metropolitan district. It is the county town of Suffolk, England. Ipswich is located on the estuary of the River Orwell...

 with Giffard's troupe, where he played Aboan in Southerne's
Thomas Southerne
Thomas Southerne , Irish dramatist, was born at Oxmantown, near Dublin, in 1660, and entered Trinity College, Dublin in 1676. Two years later he was entered at the Middle Temple, London....

 Oroonoko
Oroonoko
Oroonoko is a short work of prose fiction by Aphra Behn , published in 1688, concerning the love of its hero, an enslaved African in Surinam in the 1660s, and the author's own experiences in the new South American colony....

, appearing under the stage name Lyddal to avoid the consternation of his family. But, while he was successful under Giffard, the managers of Drury Lane and Covent Garden
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The...

 rejected him. On 19 October 1741, Garrick appeared in the title role of Richard III. He had been coached in the role by actor and playwright Charles Macklin
Charles Macklin
Charles Macklin , originally Cathal MacLochlainn , was an actor and dramatist born in Culdaff, a village on the scenic Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in the north of Ireland. He was one of the most distinguished actors of his day, equally in tragedy and comedy...

 and his natural performance, which rejected the declamatory acting style so prevalent in the period, soon was the talk of London. Of his performance at Goodman's Fields, Horace Walpole remarked, "there was a dozen dukes a night at Goodman's Fields." Following his rousing performance, Garrick wrote to his brother requesting withdrawal from the partnership in order to devote his time completely to the stage. Having found success with Richard III, Garrick moved onto a number of other roles including Tate's adaptation
The History of King Lear
The History of King Lear is an adaptation by Nahum Tate of William Shakespeare's King Lear. It first appeared in 1681, some seventy-five years after Shakespeare's version, and is believed to have replaced Shakespeare's version on the English stage in whole or in part until 1838.Unlike Shakespeare's...

 of Shakespeare's King Lear
King Lear
King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The title character descends into madness after foolishly disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all. The play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological...

and Pierre in Otway's
Thomas Otway
Thomas Otway was an English dramatist of the Restoration period, best known for Venice Preserv'd, or A Plot Discover'd .-Life:...

 Venice Preserv'd
Venice Preserv'd
Venice Preserv'd is an English Restoration play written by Thomas Otway, and the most significant tragedy of the English stage in the 1680s. It was staged first in 1682, with Thomas Betterton as Jaffeir and Elizabeth Barry as Belvidera...

as well as comic roles such as Bayes in Buckingham's
George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, 20th Baron de Ros of Helmsley, KG, PC, FRS was an English statesman and poet.- Upbringing and education :...

 The Rehearsal
The Rehearsal (play)
The Rehearsal was a satirical play aimed specifically at John Dryden and generally at the sententious and overly ambitious theatre of the Restoration tragedy. The play was staged in 1671 and published anonymously in 1672, but it is certainly by George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and others...

; a total of 18 roles in all in just the first six months of his acting career. His success led Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson...

, who saw him perform three times during this period, to surmise, "that young man never had his equal as an actor, and he will never have a rival."

With his success at Goodman's Fields, Charles Fleetwood, manager of Drury Lane, engaged Garrick to play Chaumont on Otway's The Orphan (a role he first played in Ipswich) on 11 May 1742 while he used his letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

 to close down Giffard's theatre. That same month, Garrick played King Lear opposite Margaret "Peg" Woffington
Margaret Woffington
Margaret "Peg" Woffington was a well-known Irish actress in Georgian London.- Early life :Woffington was born of humble origins in Dublin. Her father is thought to have been a bricklayer, and after his death, the family became impoverished...

 as Cordelia
Cordelia
Cordelia is a common first name in English. It is an elaboration of the word 'cor', which means 'heart' in Latin. In Celtic usages, the name is generally understood to mean 'daughter of the sea' or 'jewel of the sea' , due to its association with the mythological Welsh figure of...

 and his popular Richard III. With these successes, Fleetwood engaged Garrick for the full 1742-43 season.

At Drury Lane



At the end of the London season, Garrick, along with Peg Woffington, traveled to Dublin for the summer season at the Theatre Royal, Smock Lane
Theatre Royal, Dublin
At one stage in the history of the theatre in Britain and Ireland, the designation Theatre Royal or Royal Theatre was an indication that the theatre was granted a Royal Patent without which theatrical performances were illegal...

. While in Dublin, Garrick added two new roles to his repertoire: Shakespeare's Hamlet
Hamlet
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

, Abel Drugger in Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems...

's The Alchemist
The Alchemist (play)
The Alchemist is a comedy by English playwright Ben Jonson. First performed in 1610 by the King's Men, it is generally considered Jonson's best and most characteristic comedy; Samuel Taylor Coleridge claimed that it had one of the three most perfect plots in literature...

(a role that garnered him much acclaim) and Captain Plume in Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer. Some of his success could be attributed to one of his earliest fans, John Boyle, 5th Earl of Cork
John Boyle, 5th Earl of Cork
John Boyle, 5th Earl of Cork and 5th Earl of Orrery, FRS was a writer and a friend of Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope and Samuel Johnson....

, who wrote letters to many noblemen and gentlemen recommending Garrick's acting. His writings led Garrick to exclaim that it must have been the reason he was "more caressed" in Dublin.

Five years after joining the acting company at Drury Lane, Garrick again travelled to Dublin for a season where he managed and directed at the Smock Alley Theatre in conjunction with Thomas Sheridan, the father of Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan was an Irish-born playwright and poet and long-term owner of the London Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. For thirty-two years he was also a Whig Member of the British House of Commons for Stafford , Westminster and Ilchester...

. After his return to London, he spent some time acting at Covent Garden under John Rich
John Rich (producer)
John Rich was an important director and theatre manager in 18th century London. He opened the New Theatre at Lincoln's Inn Fields and then the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden and began putting on ever more lavish productions...

 while a farce
Farce
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases,...

 of his, Miss in Her Teens, was also produced there.


With the end of the 1746-1747 season, Fleetwoods' patent on Drury Lane expired in partnership with James Lacy, Garrick took over the theatre in April 1747. The theatre had been in a decline for some years, but the partnership of Garrick and Lacy led to success and accolades. The first performance under Garrick and Lacy's management opened with an Ode to Drury Lane Theatre, on dedicating a Building and erecting a Statue, to Shakespeare read by Garrick and written by his friend, Dr. Johnson. The ode promised the patrons that "The drama's law the drama's patrons give,/For we that live to please must please to live." Certainly this statement could be regarded as succinctly summing up Garrick's management at Drury Lane where he was able to balance both artistic integrity and the fickle tastes of the public.

After the Woffington affair and a number of other botched love affairs, Garrick met Eva Marie Veigel
Eva Marie Veigel
Eva Marie Veigel was a dancer and the wife of actor David Garrick....

 (1724–1822), a German dancer in opera choruses who emigrated to London in 1746. The pair wed on June 22, 1749 and were preserved together in several portraits, including one by William Hogarth
William Hogarth
William Hogarth was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects"...

. Hogarth also made several drawings and paintings of them separately. The union was childless but happy, Garrick calling her "the best of women and wives", and they were famously inseparable throughout their nearly 30 years of marriage. Garrick's increasing wealth enabled him to live with Eva Marie in a fine mansion, now known as Garrick's Villa
Garrick's Villa
Garrick's Villa is a Grade I country house that is located on Hampton Court Road in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in London. The structure was constructed in the Middle Ages. The country house was acquired in 1754 by David Garrick...

, that he bought at Hampton
Hampton, London
Hampton is a suburban area, centred on an old village on the north bank of the River Thames, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in England. Formerly it was in the county of Middlesex, which was formerly also its postal county. The population is about 9,500...

 in 1754. He also indulged his passion for Shakespeare by building a Temple to Shakespeare
Garrick's Temple to Shakespeare
Garrick's Temple to Shakespeare is a small garden folly erected in 1756 on the north bank of the River Thames at Hampton, London. It was built by the actor David Garrick to honour the playwright William Shakespeare, whose plays Garrick performed to great acclaim throughout his career...

 on the riverside at Hampton to house his collection of memorabilia.

In September 1769 Garrick staged the Shakespeare Jubilee
Shakespeare Jubilee
The Shakespeare Jubilee was staged in Stratford-upon-Avon between 5-7 September 1769. The jubilee was organised by the actor and theatre manager David Garrick to celebrate the jubilee of the birth of William Shakespeare. It had a major impact on the rising tide of bardolatry that led to Shakespeare...

 in Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town and civil parish in south Warwickshire, England. It lies on the River Avon, south east of Birmingham and south west of Warwick. It is the largest and most populous town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon, which uses the term "on" to indicate that it covers...

. It was a major focal point in the emerging movement that helped cement Shakespeare as England's national poet. It involved a number of events held in the town to celebrate (five years too late) two hundred years since Shakespeare's birth. No Shakespeare plays were performed during the Jubilee, and heavy rain forced a Shakespeare Pageant to be called off. The Pageant was first staged a month later at Drury Lane Theatre
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is a West End theatre in Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, a borough of London. The building faces Catherine Street and backs onto Drury Lane. The building standing today is the most recent in a line of four theatres at the same location dating back to 1663,...

 under the title The Jubilee
The Jubilee
The Jubilee is a 1769 play by the British playwright and actor-manager David Garrick. It was based on his Shakespeare Pageant which he had originally planned to stage during the Shakespeare Jubilee in Stratford-upon-Avon until heavy rain forced it to be abandoned...

and proved successful enjoying ninety performances. The song Soft Flowing Avon
Soft Flowing Avon
Soft Flowing Avon was a 1769 song with music written by Thomas Arne and lyrics by David Garrick. It was composed for and first staged at the Shakespeare Jubilee in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1769. The lyrics refer to the River Avon which flows through the town, the birthplace of William Shakespeare....

was composed by Thomas Arne, with lyrics by Garrick, for the Jubilee.

Garrick would manage the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane until his retirement from management in 1776. In his last years he continued to add roles to his repertoire; Posthumus in Cymbeline
Cymbeline
Cymbeline , also known as Cymbeline, King of Britain or The Tragedy of Cymbeline, is a play by William Shakespeare, based on legends concerning the early Celtic British King Cunobelinus. Although listed as a tragedy in the First Folio, modern critics often classify Cymbeline as a romance...

was among his last famous roles. He died less than three years later, at his house in Adelphi Buildings, London and was interred in Poets' Corner
Poets' Corner
Poets' Corner is the name traditionally given to a section of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey because of the number of poets, playwrights, and writers buried and commemorated there. The most recent additions were a memorial floor stone unveiled in 2009 for the founders of the Royal Ballet...

 in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

. Mrs. Garrick survived her husband by 43 years.
Shortly before his death he worked on the production of The Camp
The Camp (play)
The Camp: A Musical Entertainment is a 1778 play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, with assistance from John Burgoyne and David Garrick. The set designs were by Philip James de Loutherbourg...

with Sheridan at Drury Lane and caught a very bad cold. The Camp was based around the British response to a threatened invasion by France
Armada of 1779
The Armada of 1779 was an exceptionally large joint French and Spanish fleet intended, with the aid of a feint by the American Continental Navy, to facilitate an invasion of Britain, as part of the wider American War of Independence, and in application of the Franco-American alliance...

, leading some to jokingly claim that Garrick was the only casualty of the ultimately abandoned invasion.

An easy, natural manner


Perhaps it was Garrick's acting, the most showy of his careers, that brought him the most adulation. Garrick was not a large man, only standing 5'4" and his voice is not described as particularly loud. From his first performance, Garrick departed from the bombastic style that had been popular, choosing instead a more relaxed, naturalistic style that biographer Alan Kendall states "would probably seem quite normal to us today, but it was new and strange for his day." Certainly this new style brought acclamation: Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson...

 stated, "he was afraid the young man would be spoiled, for he would have no competitor." and Garrick quotes George Lyttelton
George Lyttelton
George Lyttelton may be:*George Lyttelton , MP for Droitwich in 1586*George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton , English politician*George Lyttelton, 2nd Baron Lyttelton , Anglo-Irish peer and politician...

 as complimenting him by saying, "He told me he never knew what acting was till I appeared." Even James Quin
James Quin
James Quin was an English actor of Irish descent.Quin was born in London. He was educated at Dublin, and probably spent a short time at Trinity College....

, an actor in the old style remarked, "If this young fellow be right, then we have been all wrong."

While Garrick's praises were being sung by many, there were some detractors. Theophilus Cibber
Theophilus Cibber
Theophilus Cibber was an English actor, playwright, author, and son of the actor-manager Colley Cibber.He began acting at an early age, and followed his father into theatrical management. In 1727, Alexander Pope satirized Theophilus Cibber in his Dunciad as a youth who "thrusts his person full...

 in his Two Dissertations on the Theatres of 1756 believed that Garrick's realistic style went too far:
His over-fondness for extravagant attitudes, frequently affected starts, convulsive twitchings, jerkings of the body, sprawling of the fingers, flapping the breast and pockets; a set of mechanical motions in constant use; the caricatures of gesture, suggested by pert vivacity; his pantomimical manner of acting, every word in a sentence, his unnatural pauses in the middle of a sentence; his forced conceits; his wilful neglect of harmony, even where the round period of a well-expressed noble sentiment demands a graceful cadence in the delivery.

But Garrick's legacy was perhaps best summarised by Rev Nicolas Tindal, the historian, when he said that:
The 'deaf' hear him in his 'action, and the 'blind' see him in his 'voice'.

Legacy

  • A monument to Garrick in Lichfield Cathedral
    Lichfield Cathedral
    Lichfield Cathedral is situated in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England. It is the only medieval English cathedral with three spires. The Diocese of Lichfield covers all of Staffordshire, much of Shropshire and part of the Black Country and West Midlands...

     bears Johnson's famous comment:

"I am disappointed by that stroke of death that has eclipsed the gaiety of nations, and impoverished the public stock of harmless pleasure."
  • A carved stone medallion, a metre or more in diameter, showing Garrick is on display at Birmingham Central Library
    Birmingham Central Library
    Birmingham Central Library is the main public library in Birmingham, England, and the largest non-national library in Europe. It is managed by Birmingham City Council...

    .
  • Garrick was the first actor to be granted the honour of being buried in Westminster Abbey
    Westminster Abbey
    The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

    , in Poets' Corner by the monument to William Shakespeare. Later Henry Irving
    Henry Irving
    Sir Henry Irving , born John Henry Brodribb, was an English stage actor in the Victorian era, known as an actor-manager because he took complete responsibility for season after season at the Lyceum Theatre, establishing himself and his company as...

    , the first actor to be knighted, was buried beside him on the same spot. Laurence Olivier
    Laurence Olivier
    Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright...

     was the third to be given that honour, in 1989.
  • A film made in 1937, a comedy called The Great Garrick
    The Great Garrick
    The Great Garrick is a motion picture directed by James Whale and starring Brian Aherne and Olivia de Havilland. It also features Lionel Atwill, Edward Everett Horton, and Melville Cooper. Lana Turner has a bit part...

    directed by James Whale
    James Whale
    James Whale was an English film director, theatre director and actor. He is best remembered for his work in the horror film genre, having directed such classics as Frankenstein , The Old Dark House , The Invisible Man and Bride of Frankenstein...

     is a fictional story revolving around Garrick's acting skills and his ego which inspires the Académie française
    Académie française
    L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...

     to teach him a lesson. The film stars Brian Aherne
    Brian Aherne
    Brian Aherne was a British actor of both stage and screen, who found success in Hollywood.-Early life and stage career:...

     as Garrick.
  • A School House at King Edward VI School, Lichfield is named after him.
  • The lyrics he penned for Heart of Oak
    Heart of Oak
    "Heart of Oak" is the official march of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. It is also the official march of several Commonwealth navies including the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy....

    remain, with William Boyce's music, the official March Of the Royal Navy
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

    .
  • Juan de Dios Peza (1852–1910) wrote a poem ("Reir Llorando", tr. "To Laugh Crying") about an English actor named Garrick, portraying him as a depressed comedian. Apart from being strictly a comedian, the poem's character is a nobleman ("noble he nacido"), unlike historic David Garrick.
  • In May 2007, the Spanish comedy troupe Tricicle opened a production of comedic sketches entitled "Garrick" in tribute to the actor.
  • Legend has it that he was so engrossed in a performance of Richard III that he was oblivious to a bone fracture
    Bone fracture
    A bone fracture is a medical condition in which there is a break in the continuity of the bone...

    , inspiring the theatrical felicitation "Break a leg!"

Theatre names



Several theatres have been named after Garrick:
  • Two theatres, in London, have been named for him. The first, Garrick Theatre (Leman St)
    Garrick Theatre (Leman St)
    The Garrick Theatre, also known as Garrick's Subscription was a small theatre located in Leman St, Whitechapel. The theatre opened in 1831, and closed in about 1881...

     in Whitechapel
    Whitechapel
    Whitechapel is a built-up inner city district in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London, England. It is located east of Charing Cross and roughly bounded by the Bishopsgate thoroughfare on the west, Fashion Street on the north, Brady Street and Cavell Street on the east and The Highway on the...

     opened in 1831, and closed in 1881. The second, opened in 1889 as the Garrick Theatre
    Garrick Theatre
    The Garrick Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Charing Cross Road, in the City of Westminster. It opened on 24 April 1889 with The Profligate, a play by Arthur Wing Pinero. In its early years, it appears to have specialised in the performance of melodrama, and today the theatre is a...

    , still survives.
  • The Lichfield Garrick Theatre takes its name from David Garrick, as does the Garrick Room, the main function suite in Lichfield's George Hotel.
  • Two amateur dramatic theatres in Greater Manchester, the Altrincham Garrick Theatre and the Stockport Garrick Theatre, also take his name.
  • The arts and theatre building at Hampton School
    Hampton School
    Hampton School is an independent boys' day school in Hampton, London, England.-History:In 1556, Robert Hammond, a wealthy brewer who had acquired property in Hampton, left in his will provision for the maintenance of a 'free scole' and to build a small schoolhouse 'with seates in yt' in the...

     is named after him.
  • A Community Theatre
    Garrick Theatre (Guildford)
    The Garrick Theatre is the longest continual running amateur theatre group in metropolitan Western Australia, located 16 Meadow Street in Guildford, Western Australia...

     located north of Perth, Western Australia is named after Garrick.

Major works



  • Lethe: or, Aesop in the Shades (1740)
  • The Lying Valet
    The Lying Valet
    The Lying Valet is a British play by David Garrick. A farce it was first performed at the Goodman's Fields Theatre on 30 November 1741. Garrick based his work on the second act of All Without Money by Peter Antony Motteux which was in turn inspired by a French play. Garrick initially followed the...

    (1741)
  • Miss in Her Teens; or, The Medley of Lovers (1747)
  • Lilliput (1756)
  • The Male Coquette; or, Seventeen Fifty Seven (1757)
  • The Guardian (1759)
  • Harlequin's Invasion (1759)
  • The Enchanter; or, Love and Magic (1760)
  • The Farmer's Return from London (1762)
  • The Clandestine Marriage
    The Clandestine Marriage
    The Clandestine Marriage is a comedy by George Colman the Elder and David Garrick, first performed in 1766 at Drury Lane. The idea came from one of William Hogarth's engravings.-Plot summary:...

    (1766)
  • Neck or Nothing (1766)
  • Cymon
    Cymon
    Cymon is a five-act opera composed by Michael Arne, with a libretto by David Garrick.Based on the poem Cymon and Iphigenia by John Dryden, Cymon tells the story of a captive prince who falls in love with a shepherdess named Sylvia...

    (1767)
  • Linco's Travels (1767)
  • A Peep Behind the Curtain, or The New Rehearsal (1767)
  • The Jubilee
    The Jubilee
    The Jubilee is a 1769 play by the British playwright and actor-manager David Garrick. It was based on his Shakespeare Pageant which he had originally planned to stage during the Shakespeare Jubilee in Stratford-upon-Avon until heavy rain forced it to be abandoned...

    (1769)
  • The Irish Widow
    The Irish Widow
    The Irish Widow is a play by David Garrick first staged at Drury Lane Theatre on 23 October 1772. It was written in less than week by Garrick and resembled the plot of Le Mariage forcé by Molière...

    (1772)
  • A Christmas Tale (1773)
  • The Meeting of the Company; or, Bayes's Art of Acting (1774)
  • Bon Ton; or, High Life Above Stairs (1775)
  • The Theatrical Candidates (1775)
  • May-Day; or, The Little Gypsy (1775)

External links