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"Garrickomania: Art, Celebrity, and the Imaging of Garrick"


*I would like to thank Erin Blake and the staff at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Harvard Theatre Collection, and the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum for their assistance. I am also indebted to Kalman Burnim and Shearer West’s groundbreaking work on Garrick and theatrical portraiture. 

[1] Sheridan’s popular “Monody” was performed at Drury Lane until 1784.

[2] See the drawings and ms notes relating to Garrick’s funeral, TS 1116.258*, Harvard Theatre Collection.


[3] Thomas Davies, Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick, Esq. , 2 vols. (London: Longman, 1808), 2:395.


[4] Cited in George Winchester Stone and George M. Kahrl, David Garrick: A Critical Biography (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1979), 648.

[5] Leigh Woods, Garrick Claims the Stage: Acting as Social Emblem in Eighteenth-Century England (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984), 4–5.

[6] See British Museum Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires by Frederick G. Stephens, vols. 1–4, and M. Dorothy George, vols. 5–11 (London: British Museum, 1870–1954), no. 3090; (cited hereafter as BM ).

[7] Pat Rogers, “David Garrick: The Actor as Culture Hero,” in Drama and the Actor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 78–79.

[8] See Jonathan Bate, “The Shakespeare Phenomenon,” in Shakespeare in Art, Jane Martineau et al. (London: Merrell, 2003), 12; Timothy Clayton, The English Print, 1688–1802 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997), 91.

[9] “A Memoir of David Garrick Esq,” The Universal Magazine, October 1776, cited by Desmond Shawe-Taylor in Every Look Speaks: Portraits of David Garrick (Bath: Holbourne Museum of Art, 2003), 17.

[10] The anecdote appeared in the London Chronicle, 9–12 November 1786; see Jenny Uglow, Hogarth: A Life and a World (London: Faber and Faber, 1997), 589. In a related anecdote Garrick purportedly helped Hogarth compose a portrait of Fielding by simulating his face.

[11] Gainsborough’s obituary, The Morning Chronicle, August 1788, cited in Every Look Speaks, 14. 

[12] See Shearer West, The Image of the Actor: Verbal and Visual Representation in the Age of Garrick and Kemble (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991); Woods, Garrick Claims the Stage.


[13] Kalman A. Burnim, “Looking upon His Like Again: Garrick and the Artist,” in British Theatre and the Other Arts, 1660–1800, ed. Shirley Strum Kenny (Washington, D.C.: Folger Books, 1984), 185.

[14] See Reynolds, ed. Nicholas Penny (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1986), no. 69, 236. The engraving identifies the scene as Act 2, Scene 1.

[15] See John Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century (London: HarperCollins, 1997); West, Image of the Actor , 148–49.

[16] Although the term Bardolatry was coined by George Bernard Shaw in the early twentieth century, the 1769 Jubilee was the first full-fledged manifestation. See Jonathan Bate, Shakespearean Constitutions: Politics, Theatre, Criticism, 1730–1830 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 22, n. 1.

[17] West, Image of the Actor, 26–57.

[18] See West, Image of the Actor, 28; Miles Ogborn, Spaces of Modernity: London’s Geographies, 1680–1780 (New York: Guilford Press, 1998).

[19] West, Image of the Actor, 28–29, 31.

[20] See Leo Braudy, The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 342–51; 380–82.

[21] Lance Bertlelsen, “David Garrick and English Painting,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 11, no. 3 (1978): 308.


[22] The undated trade card is in the Burney Collection, British Museum, London.


[23] West, Image of the Actor, 140–41.


[24] See the Catalogue of the Library, Splendid Books of Prints … of David Garrick, Esq. which will be sold by auction by Mr. Saunders, 23 April 1823. The Folger owns 40 titles from Garrick’s library, including Rowe’s 1709 edition of Shakespeare and a copy of the Second Folio (1632). 

[25] The French text from Menagiana, IV, reads: “La première chose qu’on doit faire quand on a emprunté un livre, c’est de le lire afin de pouvoir le rendre plûtôt.” 

[26] See Joseph R. Roach, The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting (1985; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), which foregrounds the scientific underpinnings of acting; Jennifer Montagu, The Expression of the Passions: The Origin and Influence of Charles Le Brun’s Conférence sur l’expression générale et particulière (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994).


[27] [Roger Pickering], Reflections upon Theatrical Expression in Tragedy (London: Printed for W. Johnston, 1755), 12–14, 38.

[28] Cited in Brian Allen, “The Early Illustrators of Shakespeare,” in Shakespeare in Art, 49.

[29] See A Catalogue of the Small, but Valuable Collection of Italian, French, Flemish, Dutch, and English Pictures, the Property of the Late David Garrick, Esq., Christie’s, 23 June 1823. Among the Old Masters were works by Lely, Kneller, Brueghel, Dou, Guido Reni, Perugino, Poussin, and del Sarto.  

[30] On Garrick’s art collecting, see Stone & Kahrl, David Garrick, 456–70. Garrick also collected historical portraits.

[31] Stone and Kahrl, David Garrick, 448.

[32] The Folger Shakespeare Library’s comprehensive collection of Garrickiana ranges from a cup carved from Shakespeare’s mulberry tree representing “Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy” to Garrick’s massive silverware, adorned with a five-pointed star. 

[33] See Burnim, “Looking upon His Like Again,” 185; Philip Highfill, et. al., A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660–1800, 16 vols. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1973–93), 6:81–103, which lists nearly 300 portraits, many existing in multiple versions. Burnim estimates there are more than 450 portraits altogether, at least 90 original portraits, 235 engraved portraits, and 30 or more sculptures, porcelains, and medallions.

[34] Dramatic Characters, or Different Portraits of the English Stage (London: Printed for Robert Sayer & John Smith, 1770). The prints of Garrick and his contemporaries are based on Jean Louis Fesch’s portraits. In 1766 Fesch sent Garrick some of his French theatrical portraits in exchange for a print of Garrick.

[35] The Letters of David Garrick, ed. David M. Little and George M. Kahrl, 3 vols. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963), 2:433–34. Garrick requested six prints after Reynolds’s picture.

[36] Valentine Green’s mezzotint, published by John Boydell 2 April 1769, further diffused Garrick’s image.

[37] See Highfill, A Biographical Dictionary , 6:99; for the tapestry, see Every Look Speaks, 34–35. 


[38] See Kalman A. Burnim, The Richard Bebb Collection in the Garrick Club (London: Unicorn, 2001), 19.


[39] See Ronald Paulson, Hogarth: His Life, Art, and Times, 2 vols. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1971), 2:22–25. Christopher Smart’s Hilliad (1752) connects Hogarth and Garrick.

[40] Little and Kahrl, eds., Letters of David Garrick, 1:70. Thomas Duncombe purchased the portrait for 200 pounds, “more than any other portrait painter was known to receive for a portrait,” Hogarth bragged.

[41] On the Folger replica, see William L. Pressly, A Catalogue of Paintings in the Folger Shakespeare Library (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1993), no. 107, 193–94. Garrick commissioned the original, which Dance sold to Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn for more than the agreed on price. The original hangs in the Stratford Town Hall.


[42] See Burnim, “Looking upon His Like Again,” 189.


[43] Cited in Mary Webster, Johan Zoffany, 1733–1810 (London: National Portrait Gallery, 1976), 25.


[44] Walpole, cited in the exh. cat. Johann Zoffany (London: Arts Council, 1960–61), 18–19.


[45] See Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson, The Artist and the Theatre (London: Heinemann, 1955), 5–11; Theatre: The Age of Garrick (London: Christopher Lennox-Boyd, 1994), 55–57. After McArdell’s death in 1765, the plate was reworked and reissued by Sayer. 


[46] Mander and Mitchenson,  The Artist and the Theatre,  47–53; 13–23. Garrick in The Provok’d Wife exists in full-cast and single figure versions. The version Garrick owned was engraved by John Finlayson (1768).


[47] See Webster, Johan Zoffany, 52. The picture was engraved by John Dixon (1772). There are two lively preparatory studies of Garrick (c.1769–70; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford).


[48] See David Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, 2 vols. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000),1:209–10; Reynolds, no. 42, 205–7. Mannings suggests the picture was purchased at the instigation of Richard Cumberland, Lord Halifax’s secretary.


[49] Dr. Beattie, cited in Mannings, Reynolds, 205.


[50] On the picture’s iconography and reception see Martin Postle, Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Subject Pictures (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 20–32.


[51] Cited in Mannings, Reynolds, 207.


[52] Cited in Postle, Sir Joshua Reynolds, 31.


[53] BM 5063. See Diana Donald, “Caricatures,” in Reynolds, 382–83.


[54] Sir Nicholas Nipclose, The Theatres. A Poetical Dissection (London: Printed for John Bell, 1772), 8–10.


[55] Now in the National Theatre Collection, the picture’s early history is not known. Van Loo also painted a portrait of Peg Woffington. See Mander and Mitchenson, The Artist and the Theatre, 193–95.


[56] See Louise Lippincott, Selling Art in Georgian London: The Rise of Arthur Pond (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1983), 50; illus., 51. There is also a later engraving by McArdell.


[57] The portrait remained unfinished. After Garrick’s death Hogarth’s widow gave it to Mrs. Garrick. See Paulson, Hogarth, 2:235, 242. 


[58] See Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1:212. The portrait was commissioned by Mr. Fitzmaurice.


[59] See Richard Wendorf, Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Painter in Society (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996), 151, who suggests the picture may reflect Reynolds’s misgivings about Garrick’s unquenchable thirst for fame and flattery.


[60] See John Hayes, ed., The Letters of Thomas Gainsborough (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001), 105–6.


[61] Hayes, Letters of Gainsborough, 107–8.


[62] William T. Whitley, Thomas Gainsborough (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1915), 69. The portrait was engraved by T. Collyer in 1776.


[63] See Every Look Speaks, 70–71.


[64] See Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1:211. 


[65] See Pressly, Catalogue of Paintings, no. 121, 217–20. The picture belonged to Sir Thomas Mills in 1779 and subsequently the Marquess of Landsdowne.


[66] Stone & Kahrl, David Garrick, 303.


[67] See Pressly, Catalogue of Paintings, no. 106, 191–93. Garrick owned a landscape by Taylor. The Folger version is a signed autograph replica. The portrait was engraved by J. Hall in 1773.


[68] On Pine, see Robert G. Stewart, Robert Edge Pine: A British Painter in America, 1784–88 (Washington, D.C.: National Portrait Gallery, 1979); Pressly, Catalogue of Paintings, no. 120, 215–17. 


[69] The print was published in 1778, but there is proof dated 1 December 1776.


[70] On the death mask, see Theatre: The Age of Garrick, 126–27.


[71] See Catherine Whistler, “An Exchange of Gifts between David Garrick and Richard Kaye,” Burlington Magazine 139 (May 1997): 329–30; Peter Walch, “David Garrick in Italy,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 3 (1970): 523–24.


[72] See Robin Reilly, Wedgwood: The New Illustrated Dictionary (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1995), 385–86; Robin Reilly and George Savage, Wedgwood: The Portrait Medallions (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1973), 303.


[73] See Reilly and Savage, Wedgwood, 159; Every Look Speaks, no. 60, 89. The sulphur cast was supplied to Etruria by Hoskins & Grant in 1773; the portrait was also produced with an ornate frame of basaltes. The remodeled portrait was produced in Jasperware in 1777. The Wedgwood medallion closely resembles Sherwin’s contemporary drawing.   


[74] See Robin Reilly, Wedgwood Jasper (London: Thames and Hudson, 1994), 110.


[75] See Jonathan Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 86.


[76] Cited in Stone and Kahrl, David Garrick, 198.


[77] On the Hampton statue, see Aileen Dawson, Portrait Sculpture: A Catalogue of the British Museum Collection, c. 1675–1975 (London: British Museum Press, 1999), 192–204. Dawson reproduces a copy of the contract (now lost) between Garrick and Roubiliac. (198). 


[78] David Piper, The Image of the Poet: British Poets and Their Portraits (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 13. As Piper points out, succeeding generations have recreated Shakespeare in their own image.


[79] See Piper, The Image of the Poet, 18–20. The Chandos portrait’s claim to authenticity was based on its pedigree. Supposedly bequeathed to William Davenant, it subsequently belonged to the great Restoration actor, Thomas Betterton.  


[80] There is a smaller maquette (1757; Victoria and Albert Museum, London).  The Folger maquette, the more finished, definitive model, was probably exhibited in 1760. See James David Draper and Guilhem Scherf, L’esprit créateur de Pigalle à Canova (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationax, 2003), 36–39.


[81] Cited in Dawson, Portrait Sculpture, 198. Thomas Nugent published an English translation in 1772.


[82] Michael Dobson, The Making of the National Poet (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 179.


[83] Reprinted in Christian Deelman, The Great Shakespeare Jubilee (London: Michael Joseph, 1964), 60–61.


[84] Cited in Whitley, Thomas Gainsborough, 44–45. Gainsborough apparently reworked the portrait he had exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1766.


[85] Brewer, Pleasures of the Imagination, 410.


[86] See Martin Postle, “Gainsborough’s ‘Lost’ Picture of Shakespeare: ‘A Little Out of the Simple Portrait Way,’” Apollo 134 (December 1991): 374–79.


[87] Hayes, Letters of Gainsborough, 58–61. 


[88] Whitley, Thomas Gainsborough, 66–68. The Corporation paid for Gainsborough’s Portrait of Garrick.


[89] Postle, “Gainsborough’s ‘Lost’ Portrait of Shakespeare,” 379.


[90] The print is not dated. The Harvard Theatre Collection of Dramatic Portraits lists numerous variants. The portrait of Garrick was originally published in Smollett’s History of England (1757).


[91] See Pressly, Catalogue of Paintings, no. 139, 251–53.


[92] Cited in Pressly, Catalogue of Paintings, 253.


[93] See Gary Taylor, Reinventing Shakespeare (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 119; Johanne M. Stochholm, Garrick’s Folly (London: Methuen, 1964).


[94] Cited in Burnim, “Looking upon His Like Again,” 183.


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