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David Garrick

(1717-1779), Actor, playwright and theatre manager

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter associated with 56 portraits
Garrick was born in Hereford and grew up in Lichfield, Staffordshire. When Samuel Johnson opened his ill-fated school in 1735, Garrick was one of the few pupils. Perhaps recognising their mutual ambition, the two men travelled to London together in March 1737, taking turns to ride on their shared horse. Garrick first appeared on the London stage in 1741 and went on to achieve huge success as an actor, playwright and theatre manager, becoming the most celebrated theatrical personality of the eighteenth century. He was acclaimed for his naturalistic style and his versatility in both comic and tragic roles. He transformed what it meant to be an actor, no longer simply an entertainer but a pillar of British culture.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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