Eva Maria Garrick did much to keep flame of Garrick’s brilliance glowing. After turning down two marriage proposals in 1782 she devoted her long widowhood to a range of interests: mesmerism, alchemy, Catholicism, and reliving the glory days at Drury Lane. She lived an active, if semi-reclusive, old age among trusted friends, using her “at homes” to show friends and acquaintances mementos of life and travels with her husband, affording an opportunity to reminisce.
We have various views of her widowhood. One source described her as “a little bowed-down old woman, who went about leaning on a gold-headed cane, dressed in deep widow’s mourning, and always talking of her dear Davy.” Others depict her as active, socially engaged, and even spunky. Moments before she died, at age 98, she scolded a solicitous maid who handed her a cup of tea. “Put it down, you hussy, do you think I cannot help myself?”
For more on Mrs. Garrick, jump directly to Eva Maria or Marriage in the online exhibition.
Samuel DeWilde. Mrs. Garrick. Watercolor drawing, ca.1820.