Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lunn, Joseph

LUNN, JOSEPH (1784–1863), dramatic author, was born in 1784. His earliest work, ‘The Sorrows of Werther,’ a burlesque, with music by Bishop, was produced at Covent Garden, 6 May 1818, with Liston and his wife in the chief parts (Genest, viii. 659). It was revived at the St. James's, 13 Oct. 1836, but does not appear to have been published. Liston achieved more conspicuous success in four pieces by Lunn, produced at the Haymarket between 1822 and 1825, viz. ‘Family Jars,’ a farce in one act (music by Perry), produced 26 Aug. 1822 (acted nineteen times and printed both at New York and in London, in Lacy's ‘Acting Edition of Plays,’ vol. xiv. 1850) (ib. ix. 167); ‘Fish out of Water,’ a laughable farce in one act, produced 26 Aug. 1823, acted twenty-eight times (ib. ix. 210), and printed both in Helsenberg's ‘Modern English Comic Theatre,’ 5th ser., 16mo, 1843, &c., and in Lacy, vol. xvi.; ‘Hide and Seek,’ petit opéra, adapted from French, in two acts (the dialogue in prose), produced 22 Oct. 1824 (ib. p. 268), revived at Covent Garden, 11 Nov. 1830, and printed in Cumberland's ‘British Theatre,’ 1829, 12mo, vol. xii.; and ‘Roses and Thorns, or Two Houses under One Roof,’ comedy in three acts, produced 24 Aug. 1825 (ib. p. 316), and printed in Cumberland, vol. xii. Henry Compton also appeared with great success in ‘Family Jars’ and ‘Fish out of Water,’ and the latter when revived at the Lyceum in the autumn of 1874, had a run of upwards of a hundred nights. A sixth piece by Lunn, ‘False and Constant,’ a comedy in two acts, is said to have been given at the Haymarket, 16 June 1823, although unmentioned by Genest, and again at the Queen's Theatre 23 Nov. 1829. It is printed in Lacy, vol. xvi. Lunn's ‘Management, or the Prompter Puzzled,’ a comic interlude in one act, being a free translation from ‘Le Bénéficiaire,’ by Théaulon de Lambert and Etienne, was produced at the Haymarket theatre, 29 Sept. 1828 (ib. p. 439), and was published separately in 1830, and again in Richardson's ‘British Drama,’ and in Cumberland, vol. xxxviii. ‘The Shepherd of Derwent Vale, or the Innocent Culprit,’ a traditionary drama in two acts, adapted (and augmented) from the French, given at Drury Lane, 12 Feb. 1825 (ib. p. 289), was issued in London, 1825, 8vo, and reprinted in Lacy, vol. lxxxix. ‘Three Deep, or All on the Wing,’ partly from the French (ib. p. 349), brought out at Covent Garden, 2 May 1826, was published in Dolby's new series (1826); ‘White Lies, or the Major and the Minor,’ farce in two acts, London, 1826, 8vo, was produced at Drury Lane, 2 Dec. 1826; and ‘Capers and Coronets,’ farce in one act, produced at Queen's Theatre, 4 May 1835, was printed in Duncombe's ‘British Theatre,’ vol. xvii., 1825, 12mo, with an engraving.

Lunn was also author of ‘Sharp Practice, or the Lear of Cripplegate,’ a serio-comic drama in one act, printed in Lacy, vol. lv.; and of ‘Horæ Jocosæ, or the Doggrel Decameron,’ being ten facetious tales in verse, to which are added some miscellaneous pieces, London, 1823, 12mo.

He lived some time in Craven Street, London, and was an original member of the Dramatic Authors' Society. He died at Grand Parade, Brighton, on 12 Dec. 1863, aged 79.

[Gent. Mag. 1864, i. 134; Theatrical Journal 16 Dec. 1863; Sunday Times, Morning Post, &c.; Chronological Play, Journal of Theatres; Memoir of H. Compton, pp. 179, 221; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. Le G. N.