The Life & Career of an English Actor 1717 - 1779

Grouped By Themes

Garrick Papers Categories

David Garrick Personal
Some items in the collection belonged to David Garrick, like his guide book to Paris (1768), others have close associations, such as the printed invitation to his funeral.

David Garrick Verse
Garrick wrote verse for theatrical prologues and to amuse his friends. There is a charming ode composed ‘To my Wife on her Birthday’. Some of the verses are written in his own hand, others are scribal copies.

Eva Maria Garrick
One of the most important items in the collection is Mrs Garrick’s diary for the year her husband died. Other items relate to the annuity settled on her when they married.

Lists of Possessions
There are a few household inventories apparently written by Mrs Garrick herself, but the majority were lists of furniture, silver, books, paintings, jewellery etc. created after her death as part of Settling the Wills.

A small group of documents defy categorisation and range from accounts for the Garricks’ journey through Italy in 1764 to a jotting of riddles.

Receipts for Purchases
There are bills and receipts for purchases made by Garrick of books, paintings, a bust of Shakespeare by Nollekens, household items and fishing tackle. Others relate to purchases made by Mrs Garrick after his death.

Settling the Wills
Although David Garrick’s will was proved only a few days after his death, the final distribution of his estate could not be made until after the death of Mrs Garrick, as he had left her a life interest in his possessions. As she outlived him by 43 years, the settling of their wills became a complicated matter, with family arguments leading to litigation. The majority of the papers in this collection were brought together by the Reverend Thomas Rackett as executor.

Amongst the theatrical treasures of this collection are David Garrick’s own acting copy of The Rehearsal, with some alterations to the text in Garrick’s hand. There are manuscripts for various prologues and for the ‘Jubilee’, as well as a list of the characters for the Pageant scene in that play.