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David Garrick
Online Exhibition

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Childhood and Youth

Samuel and Nathaniel Buck. The South West Prospect of the City of Lichfield. Engraving, ca. 1732

David Garrick was born in Hereford in 1717, son of Peter Garrick (a Huguenot refugee who arrived in England as an infant and grew up to become an army officer) and his wife, Arabella Clough (a vicar-choral’s daughter from Lichfield). Peter Garrick’s regiment was based in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and David grew up there with his six brothers and sisters. In 1737, he left Lichfield for London, over 100 miles to the south-east, traveling with his friend and (briefly) schoolmaster, the young Samuel Johnson. In London, twenty-year-old David Garrick considered a law career, then set himself up as a wholesale wine dealer with his elder brother, Peter. Over the next few years, Garrick’s long-held interest in acting and the theater grew. In 1740, two comic pieces he had written appeared on stage, and he acted the title role in an amateur performance of Henry Fielding’s The Mock Doctor. The respectable career in the wine trade wished for by his family became less and less attractive to him.


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W. Holl after Sir Joshua Reynolds. Samuel Johnson LLD. Engraving, 1814.

Additional Information

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784): author and lexicographer.

Two comic pieces: Lethe was performed at Drury Lane on April 1, and The Lying Valet was performed at Goodman's Fields on November 30.  

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