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Elizabeth Griffith (1727-1793), Playwright and novelist

Sitter in 3 portraits
Elizabeth Griffith was an Irish dramatist, fiction writer, essayist and actress, best known for her edition of Shakespeare's comedies published in 1775. She was the daughter of Thomas Griffith, actor-manager of the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. Her Dublin début took place on in 1749, when she played Juliet to Thomas Sheridan's ageing Romeo at the Smock Alley Theatre. She specialised in tragic roles, including Jane Shore and Cordelia in King Lear. She left the theatre upon her secret marriage to Richard Griffith in 1751. Her husband travelled extensively, and Elizabeth helped to support their family with her writing career.

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Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo

by Richard Samuel
oil on canvas, exhibited 1779
On display in Room 12 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 4905


Elizabeth Griffith

by Mackenzie, after J. Thomas
stipple engraving, published 1801
NPG D8995


Elizabeth Griffith

by Unknown artist
line engraving, published 1801
NPG D13947