Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA FRS was a leading English portrait painter and the fourth president of the Royal Academy. Lawrence was a child prodigy, he was born in Bristol and began drawing in Devizes, where his father was an innkeeper at the Bear Hotel in the Market Square. At the age of ten, having moved to Bath, he was supporting his family with his pastel portraits. At eighteen he went to London and soon established his reputation as a portrait painter in oils, receiving his first royal commission, a portrait of Queen Charlotte, in 1790, he stayed at the top of his profession until his death, aged 60, in 1830. Self-taught, he was a brilliant draughtsman and known for his gift of capturing a likeness, as well as his virtuoso handling of paint, he became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1791, a full member in 1794, president in 1820. In 1810 he acquired the generous patronage of the Prince Regent, was sent abroad to paint portraits of allied leaders for the Waterloo chamber at Windsor Castle, is remembered as the Romantic portraitist of the Regency.
Lawrence's love affairs were not happy and, in spite of his success, he spent most of life deep in debt. He never married. At his death, Lawrence was the most fashionable portrait painter in Europe, his reputation waned during Victorian times, but has since been restored. Thomas Lawrence was born at 6 Redcross Street, the youngest surviving child of Thomas Lawrence, a supervisor of excise, Lucy Read, the daughter of a clergyman; the couple had 16 children but only five survived infancy: Lawrence's brother Andrew became a clergyman. Soon after Thomas was born his father decided to become an innkeeper and took over the White Lion Inn and next-door American Coffee House in Broad Street, Bristol, but the venture did not prosper and in 1773 Lawrence senior removed his family from Bristol and took over the tenancy of the Black Bear Inn in Devizes, a favourite stopping place for the London gentry who were making their annual trip to take the waters at Bath. It was during the family's six-year stay at the Black Bear Inn that Lawrence senior began to make use of his son's precocious talents for drawing and reciting poetry.
Visitors would be greeted with the words "Gentlemen, here's my son – will you have him recite from the poets, or take your portraits?" Among those who listened to a recitation from Tom, or Tommy as he was called, was the actor David Garrick. Lawrence's formal schooling was limited to two years at The Fort, a school in Bristol, when he was aged six to eight, a little tuition in French and Latin from a dissenting minister, he became accomplished in dancing, fencing and billiards. By the age of ten his fame had spread sufficiently for him to receive a mention in Daines Barrington's Miscellanies as "without the most distant instruction from anyone, capable of copying historical pictures in a masterly style", but once again Lawrence senior failed as a landlord and, in 1779, he was declared bankrupt and the family moved to Bath. From now on, Lawrence was to support his parents with the money; the family settled at 2 Alfred Street in Bath, the young Lawrence established himself as a portraitist in pastels.
The oval portraits, for which he was soon charging three guineas, were about 12 inches by 10 inches, portrayed a half-length. His sitters included the Duchess of Devonshire, Sarah Siddons, Sir Henry Harpur, Warren Hastings and Sir Elijah Impey. Talented and attractive Lawrence was popular with Bath residents and visitors: artists William Hoare and Mary Hartley gave him encouragement. Sometime before his eighteenth birthday in 1787 Lawrence arrived in London, taking lodgings in Leicester Square, near to Joshua Reynolds' studio, he was introduced to Reynolds. Lawrence installed his parents in a house in Greek Street, he exhibited several works in the 1787 Royal Academy exhibition at Somerset House, enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy but did not stay long, abandoning the drawing of classical statues to concentrate on his portraiture. In the Royal Academy exhibition of 1788 Lawrence was represented by five portraits in pastels and one in oils, a medium he mastered. Between 1787 and his death in 1830 he would miss only two of the annual exhibitions: once, in 1809, in protest about the way his paintings had been displayed and once, in 1819, because he was abroad.
In 1789 he exhibited 13 portraits in oil, including one of William Linley and one of Lady Cremorne, his first attempt at a full-length portrait. The paintings received favourable comments in the press with one critic referring to him as "the Sir Joshua of futurity not far off" and, aged just twenty, Lawrence received his first royal commission, a summons arriving from Windsor Palace to paint the portraits of Queen Charlotte and Princess Amelia; the queen found Lawrence presumptuous and she did not like the finished portrait, which remained in Lawrence's studio until his death. When it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1790
William Hazlitt was an English essayist and literary critic, social commentator, philosopher. He is now considered one of the greatest critics and essayists in the history of the English language, placed in the company of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell, he is acknowledged as the finest art critic of his age. Despite his high standing among historians of literature and art, his work is little read and out of print. During his lifetime he befriended many people who are now part of the 19th-century literary canon, including Charles and Mary Lamb, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, John Keats; the family of Hazlitt's father were Irish Protestants who moved from the county of Antrim to Tipperary in the early 18th century. Named William Hazlitt, Hazlitt's father attended the University of Glasgow, receiving a master's degree in 1760. Not satisfied with his Presbyterian faith, he became a Unitarian minister in England. In 1764 he became pastor at Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, where in 1766 he married Grace Loftus, daughter of a deceased ironmonger.
Of their many children, only three survived infancy. The first of these, was born in 1767 at Marshfield in Gloucestershire, where the Reverend William Hazlitt had accepted a new pastorate after his marriage. In 1770, the elder Hazlitt accepted yet another position and moved with his family to Maidstone, where his first and only surviving daughter, was born that same year. William, the youngest of the surviving Hazlitt children, was born in Mitre Lane, Maidstone, in 1778. In 1780, when he was two, his family began a nomadic lifestyle, to last several years. From Maidstone his father took them to County Cork, Ireland, his efforts to obtain a post did not meet with success, although he did exert a certain influence on the founding of the first Unitarian church in Boston. In 1786–87 the family returned to England and settled in Wem, in Shropshire. Hazlitt would save the taste of barberries. Hazlitt was educated at a local school. At age 13 he had the satisfaction of seeing his writing appear in print for the first time, when the Shrewsbury Chronicle published his letter condemning the riots in Birmingham over Joseph Priestley's support for the French Revolution.
In 1793 his father sent him to a Unitarian seminary on what was the outskirts of London, the New College at Hackney. The schooling he received there, though brief two years, made a deep and abiding impression on Hazlitt; the curriculum at Hackney was broad, including a grounding in the Greek and Latin classics, history, science, and, of course, religion. Much of his education there was along traditional lines. Priestley, whom Hazlitt had read and, one of his teachers, was an impassioned commentator on political issues of the day. This, along with the turmoil in the wake of the French Revolution, sparked in Hazlitt and his classmates lively debates on these issues, as they saw their world being transformed around them. Changes were taking place within the young Hazlitt as well. While, out of respect for his father, Hazlitt never broke with his religion, he suffered a loss of faith, left Hackney before completing his preparation for the ministry. Although Hazlitt rejected the Unitarian theology, his time at Hackney left him with much more than religious scepticism.
He had read and formed habits of independent thought and respect for the truth that would remain with him for life. He had absorbed a belief in liberty and the rights of man, confidence in the idea that the mind was an active force which, by disseminating knowledge in both the sciences and the arts, could reinforce the natural tendency in humanity towards good; the school had impressed upon him the importance of the individual's ability, working both alone and within a mutually supportive community, to effect beneficial change by adhering to held principles. The belief of many Unitarian thinkers in the natural disinterestedness of the human mind had laid a foundation for the young Hazlitt's own philosophical explorations along those lines. And, though harsh experience and disillusionment compelled him to qualify some of his early ideas about human nature, he was left with a hatred of tyranny and persecution that he retained to his dying days, as expressed a quarter-century afterward in the retrospective summing up of his political stance in his 1819 collection of Political Essays: "I have a hatred of tyranny, a contempt for its tools...
I cannot sit down under the claims of barefaced power, I have tried to expose the little arts of sophistry by which they are defended." Returning home, around 1795, his thoughts were directed into more secular channels, encompassing not only politics but modern philosophy, which he had begun to read with fascination at Hackney. In September 1794, he had met William Godwin, the reformist thinker whose published Political Justice had taken English intellectual circles by storm. Hazlitt was never to feel in sympathy with Godwin's philosophy, but it gave him much food for thought, he spent much of his time at home in an intensive study of English, Scotti
Elizabeth Inchbald was an English novelist and dramatist. Her two novels are still read today. Born on 15 October 1753 at Stanningfield, near Bury St Edmunds, Elizabeth was the eighth of the nine children of John Simpson, a farmer, his wife Mary, née Rushbrook; the family, like several others in the neighbourhood was Roman Catholic. Unlike her brother, sent to school, Elizabeth was educated with her sisters at home. Elizabeth suffered from a speech impediment. Determined to act at a young age, Elizabeth worked hard to try to overcome her stammer, but her family discouraged her attempt in early 1770 to get an engagement at the Norwich Theatre; that same year her brother George became in actor. In April 1772, at the age of 18, Elizabeth went to London without permission to become an actress, her stammer affected her performance and many audience members did not enjoy watching her on stage because of her speech impediment. Young and alone, she was the victim of sexual harassment. Two months in June, she agreed to marry a fellow Catholic, the actor Joseph Inchbald at least for protection.
Joseph at the time was not a well-known actor, was twice Elizabeth's age, had two illegitimate sons. Elizabeth and Joseph did not have children together; the marriage was reported to have had difficulties. Elizabeth and Joseph appeared on the stage together for the first time on 4 September 1772 in Shakepeare's King Lear. In October 1772, the couple toured Scotland with West Digges's theatre company, a demanding life for nearly four years. In 1776, the couple made a move to France, where Joseph went to learn to paint and Elizabeth went to study the French language. In only one month, the couple became penniless, they moved to Liverpool and Inchbald met actors Sarah Siddons and her brother John Philip Kemble, both of whom became important friends after joining Joseph Younger's company. The Inchbalds subsequently moved to Yorkshire. In 1777, the couple was hired by Tate Wilkinson's company. After Joseph Inchbald's unexpected death in June 1779, Inchbald continued to act for several years, in Dublin and elsewhere.
She quarrelled publicly with Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797, when Wollstonecraft's marriage to William Godwin made it clear that she had not been married to Gilbert Imlay, the father of her elder daughter Fanny. This was resented by Godwin, her acting career, while only moderately successful, spanned 17 years and she appeared in many classical roles, as well as in new plays such as Hannah Cowley's The Belle's Stratagem. Due to success as a playwright, Inchbald did not need the financial support of a husband and did not remarry. Between 1784 and 1805 she had 19 of her comedies, sentimental dramas, farces performed at London theatres, her first play to be performed was A Mogul Tale, in which she played the leading feminine role of Selina. In 1780, she played a breeches role in Philaster as Bellarion. Inchbald had a few of her plays produced such as Appearance is Against Them, Such Things Are, Everyone Has Fault; some of her other plays such as A Mogul Tale and I'll Tell You What were produced at the Haymarket Theatre.
Eighteen of her plays were published. Her two novels have been reprinted, she did considerable editorial and critical work. Her literary start began with writing for Edinburgh Review. A four-volume autobiography was destroyed before her death upon the advice of her confessor, but she left some of her diaries; the latter are held at the Folger Shakespeare Library and an edition was published. Her play Lovers' Vows was featured as a focus of moral controversy by Jane Austen in her novel Mansfield Park. After her success, she felt she needed to give something back to London society, decided in 1805 to try being a theatre critic. A political radical and friend of William Godwin and Thomas Holcroft, her political beliefs can more be found in her novels than in her plays, due to the constrictive environment of the patent theatres of Georgian London. "Inchbald's life was marked by tensions between, on the one hand, political radicalism, a passionate nature evidently attracted to a number of her admirers, a love of independence, on the other hand, a desire for social respectability and a strong sense of the emotional attraction of authority figures."
She is buried in the churchyard of St Mary Abbots. On her gravestone it states, "Whose writings will be cherished while truth and feelings, command public admiration." In 1833, a two-volume Memoirs of Mrs. Inchbald by James Boaden was published by Richard Bentley. In recent decades Inchbald has been the subject of increasing critical interest among scholars investigating women's writing; the reception history of Elizabeth Inchbald is the story of an unknown actress who became a celebrated playwright and author. As an actress, who at the start of her career was overshadowed by her husband, Inchbald was determined to prove herself to the acting community; some scholars recognized this describing her as "richly textured with strands of resistance and libidinal thrills”. A important aspect of Inchbald's reception history is her workplace and professional reputation. Around the theatre she was known for upholding high moral standards. Inchbald described having to defend herself from the sexual advances brought on by stage manager James Dodd and theatre manager John Taylor.
Her writing history began with variou
Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby
Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby PC styled Lord Stanley from 1771 to 1776, was a British peer and politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He held office as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1783 in the Fox–North coalition and between 1806 and 1807 in the Ministry of All the Talents. Derby was the son of Lord Strange, son of Edward Stanley, 11th Earl of Derby, his mother was a daughter and co-heiress of Hugh Smith of Weald Hall, Essex. His father had assumed the additional surname and arms of Smith by private Act of Parliament in 1747. Derby entered Eton College in 1764, proceeding to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1771. Derby was returned to Parliament as one of two representatives for Lancashire in 1774, a seat he held until 1776, when he succeeded his grandfather in the earldom and entered the House of Lords, he served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between April and December 1783 in the Fox-North Coalition headed by the Duke of Portland and was sworn of the Privy Council the same year.
He remained out of office for the next 23 years but was once again Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1806 and 1807 in the Ministry of All the Talents headed by Lord Grenville. Lord Derby served as Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire between 1776 and 1834, he was listed as a subscriber to the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal navigation in 1791. At a dinner party in 1778 held on his estate "The Oaks" in Carshalton, Lord Derby and his friends planned a sweepstake horse race, won the following year by Derby's own horse, Bridget; the race, The Oaks, has been named after the estate since. At a celebration after Bridget's win, a similar race for colts was proposed and Derby tossed a coin with Sir Charles Bunbury for the honour of naming the race. Derby won, the race became known as the Derby Stakes. Bunbury won the initial race in 1780 with Diomed, his racing colours were black with a white cap. His influence on racing has been described as "crucial". Lord Derby married Lady Elizabeth, daughter of James Hamilton, 6th Duke of Hamilton, on 23 June 1774.
She bore him three children, being: 13th Earl of Derby. In the late 1770s, Lady Derby had a public affair with John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset. In 1779, the countess moved out of Lord Derby's house, leaving their children behind expecting that her husband would agree to a divorce and that the Duke would marry her. About one year after she left his house, Lord Derby made it known that he had no intention of divorcing his wife; the countess was ostracised for the remainder of her life. Historian Peter Thomson suggests that the third of the couple's children, Lady Elizabeth Henrietta, was the result of Lady Derby's affair with Dorset. Despite this, the Earl of Derby cared for the child. Lady Derby died at the age of 44 on 14 March 1797. Only six weeks on 1 May 1797, Lord Derby married the actress Elizabeth Farren, daughter of George Farren, she bore him a further four children and died on 23 April 1829. Lord Derby survived her by five years and died on 21 October 1834, aged 82, he was succeeded in the earldom by his son from his first marriage, Lord Stanley.
Brooke, John. "Stanley, Lord Stanley". In Namier, Lewis; the History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754–1790. 3. London: Secker & Warburg. Pp. 467–8. Cokayne, George Edward. Complete Peerage of England, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extinct or Dormant. 4. London: St Catherine Press. Pp. 218–9. Cox, Millard. Derby: the life and times of the 12th Earl of Derby, Edward Smith Stanley founder of the two world famous horse races, the Derby and the Oaks. London: J. A. Allan. ISBN 0851311997. Crosby, Alan G.. "Stanley, Edward Smith, twelfth earl of Derby". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/47080. Thomson, Peter. "Farren, Elizabeth ". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/9191. Bagley, J. J.. The Earls of Derby, 1485–1985. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. Pp. 143–54. ISBN 0283991526. Stanley, Peter Edmund; the House of Stanley: the history of an English family from the 12th century. Edinburgh: Pentland Press.
ISBN 1858215781. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Derby
James Gillray was a British caricaturist and printmaker famous for his etched political and social satires published between 1792 and 1810. Many of his works are held at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Gillray has been called "the father of the political cartoon", with his works satirizing George III, prime ministers and generals. Regarded as being one of the two most influential cartoonists, the other being William Hogarth, Gillray's wit and humour, knowledge of life, fertility of resource, keen sense of the ludicrous, beauty of execution, at once gave him the first place among caricaturists, he was born in London. His father, a native of Lanark, had served as a soldier: he lost an arm at the Battle of Fontenoy and was admitted, first as an inmate and subsequently as an outdoor pensioner, at Chelsea Hospital. Gillray commenced life by learning letter-engraving. Finding this employment irksome, he wandered for a time with a company of strolling players. After a chequered experience, he returned to London and was admitted as a student in the Royal Academy, supporting himself by engraving, issuing a considerable number of caricatures under fictitious names.
His caricatures are all in etching, some with aquatint, a few using stipple technique. None can be described as engravings, although this term is loosely used to describe them. Hogarth's works were the study of his early years. Paddy on Horseback, which appeared in 1779, is the first caricature, his. Two caricatures on Admiral Rodney's naval victory at the Battle of the Saintes, issued in 1782, were among the first of the memorable series of his political sketches; the name of Gillray's publisher and print seller, Hannah Humphrey—whose shop was first at 227 Strand in New Bond Street in Old Bond Street, in St James's Street—is inextricably associated with that of the caricaturist himself. Gillray lived with Miss Humphrey during the entire period of his fame, it is believed that he several times thought of marrying her, that on one occasion the pair were on their way to the church, when Gillray said: "This is a foolish affair, Miss Humphrey. We live comfortably together. There is no evidence, however, to support the stories which scandalmongers invented about their relations.
One of Gillray's prints, "Twopenny Whist," is a depiction of four individuals playing cards, the character shown second from the left, an ageing lady with eyeglasses and a bonnet, is believed to be an accurate depiction of Miss Humphrey. Gillray's plates were exposed in Humphrey's shop window. One of his prints, Very Slippy-Weather, shows Miss Humphrey's shop in St. James's Street in the background. In the shop window a number of Gillray's published prints, such as Tiddy-Doll the Great French Gingerbread Maker, Drawing Out a New Batch of Kings. Gillray's eyesight began to fail in 1806, he began wearing spectacles but they were unsatisfactory. Unable to work to his previous high standards, James Gillray became depressed and started drinking heavily, he produced his last print in September 1809. As a result of his heavy drinking Gillray suffered from gout throughout his life, his last work, from a design by Bunbury, is entitled Interior of a Barber's Shop in Assize Time, is dated 1811. While he was engaged on it he became mad, although he had occasional intervals of sanity, which he employed on his last work.
The approach of madness may have been hastened by his intemperate habits. In July 1811 Gillray attempted to kill himself by throwing himself out of an attic window above Humphrey's shop in St James's Street. Gillray lapsed into insanity and was looked after by Hannah Humphrey until his death on 1 June 1815 in London. A number of his most trenchant satires are directed against George III, after examining some of Gillray's sketches, said "I don't understand these caricatures." Gillray revenged himself for this utterance by his caricature entitled, A Connoisseur Examining a Cooper, which he is doing by means of a candle on a "save-all". During the French Revolution, Gillray took a conservative stance. A number of these were published in the Anti-Jacobin Review, he is not, however, to be thought of as a keen political adherent of either the Whig or the Tory party. The times in which Gillray lived were peculiarly favourable to the growth of a great school of caricature. Party warfare was carried on with not a little bitterness.
Gillray's incomparable wit and humour, knowledge of life, fertility of resource, keen sense of the ludicrous, beauty of execution, at once gave him the first place among caricaturists. He is honourably distinguished in the history of caricature by the fact that his sketches are real works of art; the ideas embodied in some of them are sublime and poetically magnificent in their intensity of meaning, while the forthrightness—which some have called coarseness—which others display is characteristic of the general freedom of treatment common in all intellectual departments in the 18th century. The historical value of Gillray's work has been recognized by many disce
William Shakespeare was an English poet and actor regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", his extant works, including collaborations, consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men known as the King's Men. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; such theories are criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres; until about 1608, he wrote tragedies, among them Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays; the volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time". Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain popular and are studied and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world. William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover from Snitterfield, Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer, he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day; this date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582; the next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed two years and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592; the exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".
Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported; some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area, it is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of
The Provoked Wife
The Provoked Wife is the second original comedy written by John Vanbrugh. It made its first appearance in Lincoln's Inn Fields in May, 1697; the often-repeated claim that Vanbrugh wrote part of his comedy The Provoked Wife in the Bastille is based on allusions in a couple of much memoirs, but is regarded with some doubt by modern scholars. It is different in tone from his first play, the farcical The Relapse, adapted to the greater acting skills of the new company of actors chosen for its premiere, who walked out not long before in a dispute with management; the actors' cooperative boasted the established star performers of the age, Vanbrugh tailored The Provoked Wife to their specialties. While The Relapse had been robustly phrased to be suitable for amateurs and minor acting talents, he could count on versatile professionals like Thomas Betterton, Elizabeth Barry, the rising young star Anne Bracegirdle to do justice to characters of depth and nuance; the Provoked Wife is a comedy, but Elizabeth Barry who played the abused wife was famous as a tragic actress, for her power of "moving the passions", i.e. moving an audience to pity and tears.
Barry and the younger Bracegirdle had worked together as a tragic/comic heroine pair to bring audiences the tragic/comic rollercoaster experience of Restoration plays. Vanbrugh takes advantage of this schema and these actresses to deepen audience sympathy for the unhappily married Lady Brute as she fires off her witty ripostes. In the intimate conversational dialogue between Lady Brute and her niece Bellinda, in the star part of Sir John Brute the brutish husband, hailed as one of the peaks of Thomas Betterton's remarkable career, The Provoked Wife is something as unusual as a Restoration problem play; the premise of the plot, that a wife trapped in an abusive marriage might consider either leaving it or taking a lover, outraged some sections of Restoration society. The hitherto virtuous. Married in haste – she for money, he for sex – the Brutes are shackled by wedlock but looking for diversions, he goes off for a drunken night on the town and ends up before a magistrate, disguised in his wife's frock.
Meanwhile, Lady Brute and her niece Belinda dress as Shepherd Market doxies for a secret tryst with their suitors Heartfree and Constant and are spied on by the envious Lady Fanciful, who wants Heartfree for herself. Belinda, despite interference from Lady Fanciful, wins her man and marries for love, but it ends sadly for the boozy Brute who attempts to rape his wife, discovers two gallants lurking in his wardrobe and ends up accepting certain situations rather than becoming a human pincushion. One of the first radio adaptations was broadcast on the BBC Third Programme on 15 June 1948; the production was adapted by Ronald Simpson, the cast included Norman Shelley as Sir John Brute, Lydia Sherwood as Lady Brute, Ellen Pollock as Lady Fanciful. In 1963 Prospect Productions presented at Century Theatre, Binsey, they presented in Oxford as well. Toby Robertson, June Brown, Trevor Martin, John Bonney, Tim Seely as gallants and An Bell as Bellinda, Eileen Atkins as Lady Brute. Josephine Woodford is the maid, Robert Arnold her suitor and Edward Hardwicke as the J.
P. Alan Barrett provided sets and it featured the "clever pastiche" of Madeleine Dring It was repeated at Georgian Theatre, Yorkshire; this show was brought to London to the Vaudeville, The Stage and Television Today, July 18, 1963. Trevor Peacock played Sir John Brute, Prunella Scales Lady Brute and Zoe Wanamaker Belinda in a production at the Watford Palace Theatre 21 February - 10 March 1973. On 12 December 2004, BBC Radio 3 broadcast an adaptation by Jim Poyser directed by Pauline Harris; the cast included Julian Rhind-Tutt as Heartfree, Tom Mannion as Constant, Dave Hill as Sir John Brute, Saskia Reeves as Lady Brute, Sarah Smart as Belinda, Josie Lawrence as Lady Fanciful, Tonia Chauvet as Claudette, David Crellin as Colonel Bully and Alexander Delamere as Lord Rake. The production was re-broadcast on 19 July 2015. In March, 2010 The Generation Theatre of San Francisco, CA presented Provoquée, a play by Roland David Valayre based on The Provoked Wife and performed in French, at the Off Market Theater.
The cast included Cécile Lejeune, Françoise Lejeune, Benoît Levet, Michel Gasquy, Pierre-Yves Gouret, Marion Lovinger, Vincent Madiot, Thierry Rosset and Mireille Sagne. Generation Theatre produced the actual Vanbrugh play 17 April - 4 May 2014. In June 2014 Michael Cordner directed the play at the Department of Theatre and Television, University of York; the play has been announced as part of the summer 2019 season at the Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Phillip Breen. McCormick, Frank. Sir John Vanbrugh: The Playwright as Architect. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press. Film of University of York, Department of Theatre and Television's 2014 production