A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800: Tibbett to M. West

Front Cover
SIU Press, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 384 pages
3 Reviews

A major project begun in 1973 reaches its conclusion with the publication of volumes 15 and 16 of the Biographical Dictionary, a series considered "a reference work of the first order" by Theatre and Performing Arts Collections.

Among performers highlighted in these last volumes is Catherine Tofts, a gifted singer whose popular acclaim was captured in lines by Samuel Phillips: "How are we pleas’d when beauteous Tofts appears, / To steal our Souls through our attentive Ears?’ / Ravish’d we listen to th’ inchanting Song, / And catch the falling Accents from her Tongue." The first singer of English birth to master the form of Italian opera, Tofts frequently won leading roles over native Italian singers. Her salary--400 to 500 a season--was one of the highest in the theatre. Her popularity declined, however, as her demands for payment increased--a situation captured in an epigram Alexander Pope may have penned: "So bright is thy beauty, so charming thy song, / As had drawn both the beasts and their Orpheus along; / But such is thy avarice, and such is thy pride, / That the beasts must have starved, and the poets have died."

John Vanbrugh, whose play The Relapse is ranked as one of the best comedies of the Restoration period, became a subordinate crown architect under Sir Christopher Wren in 1702. In 1703, Vanbrugh began plans for the Queen’s Theatre in the Haymarket, an enterprise endorsed by the Kit Cat Club (of which Vanbrugh was a member). Even though his lavish design was acoustically defective, restructuring helped correct the problem and the theatre eventually became the exclusive center for opera in London.


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

on page 176
I would like to correct an error for Alfred Mills 1776-1833 he was not the third son of John Mills (c.1722–1811), a merchant navy captain, and his wife, the singer Isabella Vincent (1734
/5–1802).He was the sixth child of Isaac Mills(1745-1809) and Magdalene Featherstone(1748-1799) and was born at the lying in hospital on the city road
His father was an engraver on wood and copper. This info. comes from Alfred's own diary of which I have a copy.He was a friend of john renton, painter 1790-1840

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book has error regarding Alfred Mills.He is not connected to Broemel family.So what else is wrong with this well researched tome???/@

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 21
Section 22

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1993)

Philip H. Highfill, Jr., is a professor emeritus of English at George Washington University.

Kalman A. Burnim is emeritus Fletcher Professor of Drama at Tufts University.

Edward A. Langhans is an emeritus professor of drama and theatre at the University of Hawaii.

Bibliographic information