David Garrick as Richard III
David Garrick as Richard III
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David Garrick as Richard III
SC_GL_HOC_004_032 (Collage 322918)
London Metropolitan Archives: Hogarth Collection
This is the role that propelled the actor manager and playwright David Garrick (1717-1779) to stardom. His first professional performance as Richard III in front of a London audience was at the theatre in Goodman's Fields on 19th October 1741. The play had to be presented as free entertainment within a musical concert because it was in an unlicensed theatre. Garrick was not named on the playbill but simply listed as: A gentleman (who never appeared on any stage). His more expressive portrayal of King Richard was a revelation compared to acting styles of the time and audiences flocked to see him The version of Shakespeare's play Garrick performed had been adapted in 1700 by the poet, dramatist and theatre manager Colley Cibber (1671-1757). Cibber cut the original text by half and inserted extracts from other Shakespeare plays. It remained the most popular version performed until the 20th century. The engraving by William Hogarth is copied from his grand history painting c.1745 and shows the tent scene before the Battle of Bosworth in which King Richard is haunted by the ghosts of those he murdered.
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