Players of the early 19th Century Theatre

Horatio Lloyd,   1807 - 1889

Mr Horatio Frederick Lloyd, the well-known, popular comedian, was born in 1808 in the Strand, London, where his father, who was a hatter, lived above the shop. The old man wished him to follow his own business and set him up on his own account, but young Lloyd felt that was not his vocation.

From the many members of the theatrical profession, who were customers of his father, he acquired a taste for the stage, and eventually, after some amateur work, he graduated at the age of twenty-one, as a member of Mr Nicholson's company at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

In 1829 Lloyd first appeared in Scotland, at the Caledonian Theatre, Edinburgh.   From Edinburgh Lloyd went to Dundee, and returned again to the Caledonian Theatre.  On Nov. 15th, 1839, he made his first appearance at the Glasgow Theatre Royal, in Dunlop Street, then under the management of Alexander, who had purchased the patent after the burning of the Great Queen Street Theatre.  Later, Lloyd then accompanied Alexander to Dumfries.

In 1832, Lloyd received an offer from W H Murray, of the Theatre Royal Edinburgh.  He opened with him on the following October 1st, remaining for sixteen years. With Lloyd, in the stock company at the Theatre Royal, was the great Mackay.

In 1848, Mr Lloyd joined Glover's management in Glasgow.  Here he remained for three years, when he himself, ventured for the first and only time on management. He assumed the reins at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, with a full company.  Lloyd's managerial career proved a disastrous failure, and shortly afterwards, he returned once more to Glasgow, where till the advent of travelling companies in 1864, he was the stock low comedian, at Dunlop Street.

LLoyd died at his home in Shields Road, Glasgow on 29th November 1889.

Text based on an obituary of Lloyd published in The Era 7th December 1889.  The full text can be found in

Links with Ayrshire:

It is known that Lloyd appeared in Ayr and Kilmarnock on a number of occasions during his long stage career. Although born in England, he worked in Glasgow and Edinburgh for much of his life.


Horatio F Lloyd, 1889.     magnify   Image reproduced with Kind Permission -

Fanny Kemble,  1809 - 1893

Fanny Kemble (Frances Anne Kemble), was the eldest daughter of Charles Kemble and his actress wife Maria Theresa De Camp, and the niece of noted tragedienne Sarah Siddons.  Fanny was born in London, and educated chiefly at Bath and in France. 

She made her debut as Juliet in 1829 under her father's management at Covent Garden.  Her success was immediate, and her stature as an actress grew in both comedy and tragedy. She was the original Julia in The Hunchback, written for her by Sheridan Knowles.

Kemble scored a great success when she made a two-year tour of the United States with her father. In 1834 she married Pierce Butler, a wealthy Philadelphian who inherited rice and cotton plantations in Georgia, where she lived for a time and where she formed a lasting antipathy to slavery. 

During the American Civil War she was in England, writing against slavery for the London Times. Her Journal of America (1835), Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation in 1838-1839 (1863, ed. by John A. Scott, 1961), and Records of a Later Life (1882) are much-used sources on the era.  

Kemble died in London on Jan. 15, 1893.

Links with Ayrshire:

There is no evidence that Fanny Kemble appeared in Ayrshire.  It is known that Fanny Kemble appeared in Edinburgh and Glasgow in the summer of 1830, prior to appearances in Dublin and Cork.  It is also known that Fanny Kemble appeared in Greenock.


Fanny Kemble 1834 by Thomas Sully      magnify    [Image in the public domain.]

Charles Kean, 1811 - 1868

Charles John Kean was born at Waterford, Ireland, the son of the actor Edmund Kean and the actress Mary Chambers.

Charles Kean was educated at Worplesdon, Greenford and Eton College, where he remained three years. In 1827, he was offered a cadetship in the East India Company's service, which he was prepared to accept if his father would settle an income of £400 on his estranged mother. The elder Kean refused to do this, so young Kean declined the cadetship in favour of the stage.

Charles Kean made his first appearance at Drury Lane on 1 October 1827 as Norval in Home's Douglas.   In 1828, after failing to achieve popularity in London, he left for for the provinces. At Glasgow, in October that year, father and son acted together in Arnold Payne's Brutus, the elder Kean in the title-part and his son as Titus.

After a successful visit to the United States in 1830, he appeared in 1833 at Covent Garden as Sir Edmund Mortimer in Colman's The Iron Chest.  In March that year, he was playing Iago to his father's Othello when the older Kean collapsed on stage.  Initially, Charles Kean had limited success in London and soon returned to the provinces.   However, in January 1838, he was at Drury Lane, playing Hamlet with a success which gave him a place among the principal tragedians of his time. He married the actress Ellen Tree (1805-1880) on 25 January 1842, and paid a second visit to America with her from 1845 to 1847.

Following his final 'tour round the world', Kean returned to Britain in 1866, his health broken.  He died in London on 22 January 1868 at the age of 57. He is buried at Horndean, Hampshire.

[Based on material in the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.]

Links with Ayrshire:

No links with Ayrshire have been identified (at this time).


Charles Kean
Charles Kean as Hamlet (ca.1838).   magnify     [Image in the public domain.]

Helena Saville Faucit,  1817 - 1898

The daughter of John Saville Faucit and Harriet Elizabeth Saville, both actors, Faucit was born in London.  With her elder sister Harriet, she was trained for the stage by her step-uncle, Percy Farren, appearing as Juliet at a small theatre in Richmond in 1833. Her performance was praised by critics of The Athenaeum, but Farren delayed her professional debut to give her further training.

In January 1836, Faucit's first professional appearance was as Julia in James Sheridan Knowles's The Hunchback at Covent Garden. She was hailed as one of the leading actresses in London, helping to fill the void left by the retirement of Fanny Kemble in 1834. In the same season she played Belvidera in Otway's Venice Preserv'd, and Margaret in Joanna Baillie's The Separation.  A firm favourite with playgoers, she was given a three-year contract at Covent Garden.

In 1837, Faucit played numerous Shakespearean roles, among them Juliet, Imogen (Cymbeline), Hermione (The Winter's Tale), and Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing), alongside both Macready, who had joined the company in 1836, and Charles Kemble. Her non-Shakespearean roles during the three years at Covent Garden included the female leads in Lytton's Duchess de la Vallikre, Lady of Lyons, Richelieu, The Sea Captain, and Money, in Robert Browning's Strafford, and in Knowles's Woman's Wit.

Faucit followed Macready to the Haymarket Theatre in 1840 but her performances were blighted by an attack of a recurrent lung ailment. After her recovery, she returned to the Haymarket to perform in Zouch Troughton's Nina Sforza and Lytton's Money. After a visit to Paris and a short season at the Haymarket, she joined the Drury Lane company under Macready in 1842. There she played Lady Macbeth, Constance in King John, Desdemona, and Imogen, and took part in the first production of John Westland Marston's Patrician's Daughter (1842) and Browning's Blot on the Scutcheon (1843).

Although Macready considered her 'beyond all compare' the best English actress of the period, her Lady Macbeth of the 1843 season was a failure; Macready found her conception deficient in 'heart', and she was physically unable to achieve the commanding presence that Sarah Siddons had brought to the role.

Links with Ayrshire:

Morris records that Faucit was a regular performer at the Theatre Royal in Ayr.


Helena Saville Faucit (1817-1898)   magnify    [Image in the public domain.]

Ira Frederick Aldridge (1807 – 1867)

Ira Aldridge was born in New York on 24th July, 1807. His father, a church minister, sent him to the African Free School. As a young man Aldridge developed a love of the theatre. Aware that a career as an actor in America would be difficult he decided to emigrate to England. He obtained employment as a ship's steward and arrived in Liverpool in 1824.

Aldridge appeared as Oroonoko in A Slave's Revenge at the Royal Coburg Theatre in October, 1825. The reviews were mixed and although The Globe found his voice 'distinct and sonorous' The Times reviewer complained that he could not pronounce English properly 'owing to the shape of his lips'.

Over the next few years he appeared in plays in Manchester, Sheffield, Halifax, Newcastle, Liverpool, Hull, Sunderland and Belfast. After his performance in Othello in Scarborough he was described as 'an actor of genius'. He also appeared in several white roles such as Shylock, Macbeth and Richard III.

In 1833 newspaper critics began to make openly racist comments about Aldridge. One critic protested 'in the name of propriety and decency' about the decision to pair Aldridge with the actress Ellen Tree. He added that he disliked Tree being 'pawed about on the stage by a black man'. As a result of these attacks London theatres refused to employ him. However, he was in great demand in the provincial theatre and one newspaper described his performance as Othello as being so good that it could only 'be equalled by very few actors of the present day.'

Frustrated by being blacklisted in London he decided to leave England and appeared on the stage in Brussels, Cologne, Basle, Leipzig, Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Danzig, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Munich. While in Russia he became one of the highest paid actors in the world when he received £60 for every performance. One Russian critic stated that the evenings on which he saw Aldridge's Othello, Lear, Shylock and Macbeth 'were undoubtedly the best that I have ever spent in the theatre'.

Ira Aldridge died while on tour in Poland on 7th August, 1867.

Links with Ayrshire:

It is known that Aldridge appeared at the Theatre Royal in Ayr in 1839.


Ira Frederick Aldridge (1807 – 1867)   magnify     [Image in the public domain.]

Maria Foote (1797? -1867), [Maria Stanhope, Countess of Harrington.]

Foote was born 24 July 1797(?) at Plymouth. Her father, Samuel T. Foote (1761–1840), who claimed to be a descendant of Samuel Foote became manager of the Plymouth theatre, and married a Miss Hart.

In July 1810 Miss Foote appeared as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at her father's theatre, where she also played as Susan Ashfield in Thomas Morton's Speed the Plough, and as Emily Worthington in George Colman's Poor Gentleman.

In 1814, she appeared at Covent Garden Theatre as Amanthis in the Child of Nature by Elizabeth Inchbald. In this part, which suited her, she made a great success. Her second appearance was at the same theatre in the same character in the following season, 14 September 1814. On 6 December she was the original Ulrica in The King and the Duke, or Which is Which?, attributed to Robert Francis Jameson.

However, her abilities proved to be limited, although she had a reputation for beauty sufficient to secure her constant engagements at the patent theatres and in the country. She played with success in both Ireland and Scotland, and accompanied John Liston, Tyrone Power, and other actors to Paris, where they all acted with unsatisfactory results.

At Covent Garden she played every season up to 1824-5 inclusive, frequently in subordinate parts, but taking occasionally characters such as Miss Letitia Hardy in the Belle's Stratagem, Miss Hardcastle, and, for her benefit. Lady Teazle.

Her theatrical career closed at Birmingham on 11 March 1831, and on 7 April of the same year she married Charles Stanhope, 4th Earl of Harrington. She died 27 December 1867.

Links with Ayrshire:

It is known that Maria Foote performed at the Theatre Royal in Ayr and may have taken engagements in Kilmarnock..


Maria Foote
Maria Foote (1797?-1867), [Maria Stanhope, Countess of Harrington.]
magnify     [Image in the public domain, from and original oil painting in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.]

(Robert Henry) Wyndham, 1813-1894


Tales of the Theatres: Owners. Managers and Musicians

Helena Faucit as Juliet in Richmond

Her first appearance was made at Richmond as Juliet, in the summer of 1833, while she was yet scarcely the age of Shakespeare's Juliet.


An Encounter with Sir Walter Scott

I could not bear to lose, while listening to any one else, a single word spoken by Walter Scott.


Fanny Kemble and her audiences

I like my Glasgow audience better than my Edinburgh one; they are not so cold.


Breakfast with Sir Walter Scott

Among the delightful occurrences of last week, I must record our breakfasting with Walter Scott. I was wonderfully happy.


Helena Faucit, an Appreciation

Miss Faucit's acting is the perfection of pathos. She has the art of giving to simple words and sentences a world of meaning.  .  .


Fanny Kemble prepares for Scotland

'How glad I shall be to see Edinburgh once more! I expect much pleasure, too, from the pleasure of my aunt Dall, who some years ago spent some very happy time in Edinburgh . . .'


Helena Faucit in the Provinces

From this time she acted much in the provinces. Her friends considered that there she would receive the best practice   .  .  .  .


Faucit develops her key roles

She had not had the advantage - or disadvantage - of having seen previous interpreters of Shakespeare's heroines, and she was wholly ignorant of the traditions of the stage.


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