Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day/J. B. Buckstone


Like many men who, as actors, hold a high place in the estimation of the public, Mr. John Baldwin Buckstone left the profession to which he was brought up to become an actor. He was born in a southern suburb of London, in the year 1802, and was originally in the navy; but gave up the chance of serving his country afloat to become an articled clerk in an attorney's office. The law, however, was not a congenial pursuit; and Mr. Buckstone, having a very strong taste for the drama, made his first appearance on any stage at the Theatre Royal Oakingham, in 1823. At this time he appears to have had a notion of succeeding Garrick as Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth; but one day, the low comedian being absent, at half an hour's notice he undertook the character of Gabriel, the drunken servant in 'The Children in the Wood.' His success was so marked that he was afterwards induced to pay great attention to such characters. He continued, however, to appear in tragic parts; and for the remainder of the season he played in tragedy and comedy alternately.

Mr. Buckstone's début in London was made in the same year (1823) at the Surrey Theatre, where he played the part of Peter Smink in Payne's 'Armistice.' The success of the performance and the applause that greeted it clearly foreshadowed the position he would occupy on the London boards in low-comedy characters.

His fame reached the Adelphi, and he was offered an engagement there, which he accepted—appearing as Bobby Trot in his own drama of 'Luke the Labourer,' T. P. Cooke playing the Sailor, and Terry the Labourer.

Mr. Buckstone's connection with the Adelphi lasted for many years. He used to play there in the winter, and at the Haymarket in the summer. He is the author of a large number of dramas, most of which were very successful at the time they were produced.

But it is as the lessee of the Haymarket that Mr. Buckstone is best
"Of infinite jest."


known to the present generation of playgoers. Mr. Webster took this theatre in 1837, and Mr. Buckstone went there with him, and, we believe, played there until he became lessee himself. As all our readers know, he is to be found there still, where every lover of good acting and a good laugh hopes he will long remain. Among his best impersonations, Box in 'Box and Cox,' Touchstone, Marplot, and Tony Lumpkin may be mentioned; and his most successful dramas are the famous 'Green Bushes,' 'Flowers of the Forest,' and 'The Rough Diamond.' How often his fun and rich drollery have set the house in a roar every playgoer knows. His impersonations are marked by originality of conception; but his strong personality always shines through all, to the delight of all his admirers. On the whole, the modern stage has every reason to be proud of Mr. Buckstone.