Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gattie, Henry

GATTIE, HENRY (1774–1844), vocalist and actor, was born near Bath in 1774, and brought up to the trade of a wig-maker, but very early in life acquired a liking for the theatre. At the age of nineteen he had become well known at some musical associations. His first appearances on the stage were in vocal characters, such as Frederick in ‘No Song No Supper,’ Valentine in ‘The Farmer,’ and Captain Macheath. On 7 Nov. 1807 he came out at the Bath Theatre as Trot in Morton's comedy ‘Town and Country,’ and was next seen as Paul in ‘Paul and Virginia,’ but he soon settled down into playing as a general rule old men, Frenchmen, and Irishmen. Having been introduced by W. Lovegrove, the comedian, to Samuel James Arnold, the proprietor of the Lyceum Theatre, Gattie made his first appearance in London on 14 July 1813, in a new comic opera entitled ‘M.P., or the Blue Stocking,’ in which he took the character of La Fosse (Morning Post, 15 July 1813, p. 3), and afterwards played Sir Harry Sycamore and other old-men characters and footmen's parts. From this house he migrated to Drury Lane, where he was first seen, 6 Oct. 1813, as Vortex in ‘A Cure for the Heartache.’ He remained at Drury Lane until his retirement in 1833, filling up his summer vacations at the Haymarket, Lyceum, and other houses. At Drury Lane, where he was in the receipt of seven pounds a week, he was frequently the substitute for Munden, Dowton, Terry, and Charles Mathews, to none of whom, however, was he equal in talent. On 21 Aug. 1815 he took the part of the justice of the village in ‘The Maid and the Magpie’ at the Lyceum Theatre. His most celebrated and best-known impersonation was Monsieur Morbleu in Moncrieff's farce of ‘Monsieur Tonson,’ which was first played at Drury Lane on 20 Sept. 1821. His acting in this piece was much commended by George IV, who had commanded its performance on the occasion of a royal bespeak soon after its first production. Another of his characters was Dr. Caius in the ‘Merry Wives of Windsor.’ After a career of twenty-six years as an actor he retired from the stage in 1833, and opened a cigar-shop at Oxford, which became the resort of many of the collegians, by whom his dry humour was much appreciated. He was married, but had no family. His death took place at Reading 17 Nov. 1844, in the seventieth year of his age.

[Oxberry's Dramatic Biography (1826), iii. 37–46, with portrait; Genest, viii. 111, 399, ix. 96 et seq.; Era, 24 Nov. 1844, p. 6; Gent. Mag. December 1844, p. 654; Georgian Era, iv. 569.]

G. C. B.