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Johann Zoffany, David Garrick and His Wife by His Temple to Shakespeare at Hampton (ca 1762)

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Oil on canvas
99.7 x 125 cm

David Garrick (1717–1779) was an English actor, playwright, theatre manager, and producer who managed the Drury Lane theatre for 29 years, during which time it became one of the leading theatres in Europe. As an actor, Garrick promoted realistic acting that departed from the bombastic style that was entrenched when he first came to prominence. As the manager of Drury Lane, he instituted many reforms to all aspects of production and even to the behavior of both actors and audiences. As his friend Samuel Johnson said, "His profession made him rich and he made his profession respectable."

Garrick's increasing wealth enabled him to purchase a palatial estate, which he named Garrick's Villa, at Hampton in 1754. He indulged his passion for Shakespeare by building a garden folly, a Temple to Shakespeare, on the riverside at Hampton to house his collection of memorabilia and to use as a study. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, the Temple to Shakespeare served as an event venue and was open to the public on Sunday afternoons.


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