Saturday, 6 June 2015

BIOGRAPHY - Robert William Elliston (1774-1831)

Robert William Elliston
Born in London, England 
Son of Robert Elliston and Ann (Smith) Elliston
Husband of Elizabeth Rundall — married in Abbey Church, Bath, Somerset
Father of Eliza Elliston, William G. Elliston, Frances M. Elliston, Henry T. Elliston, Charles R. Elliston, William H. Wilmot, Isabella W. Wilmot, Albina J. Elliston, Mary J. Elliston, Juliana E. Wilmot, Lucy A. Elliston, Edmund Elliston, Mary A. Elliston and William Fry   
Robert was Actor Manager of the Drury Lane Theatre in London.
[1] Robert was born in 1774. He was one of the most colourful figures to stride across the Regency stage. Everything he did, as Actor, or Theatre Manager, was more than life size. During his career he played many leading parts, but he is best remembered for his gusto and panache with which he directed the fortunes of three London theatres and perhaps half a dozen in the provinces. He was not known as 'The Great Lessee' for nothing.
[2] Robert made his first appearance in London at the Haymarket Theatre on Saturday, 25th June 1796 in a double bill, playing Octavian in THE MOUNTAINEERS by George Coleman the Younger, and Vapour in Prince Hoare's musical farce MY GRANDMOTHER. These performances were acclaimed by the critics.
Robert went to Windsor on 24th July 1799, and by Royal Command acted Don Felix the following night before the Royal Party, in Susannah Cantlivre's farce THE WONDER! A WOMAN KEEPS A SECRET. "On the 26th, the next night, he was playing at Bristol, and again on the 27th, at Windsor. Thus, to and fro, between Bristol and Windsor, he vibrated in the space of each natural day.....for one whole fortnight." He travelled overnight, after each performance, sleeping soundly on the coach. During this fortnight he acted six times at Windsor, the King commanding five of the performances. By order of the King he received 25 guineas, and cleared 100 guineas altogether. 


[1] Christopher Murray, Robert William Elliston, Manager; [2] Michael J. Wood, ‘The Descendants of Robert William Elliston’; [2] Raymond, 1857; 52

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