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Holland, Charles (1733-1769) (DNB00)

HOLLAND, CHARLES (1733–1769), actor, the son of John Holland, a baker, was born in 1733 in Chiswick, and apprenticed to a turpentine merchant. As Oroonoko, on 13 Feb. 1755, to the Imoinda of Mrs. Cibber, the Daniel of Yates, and the Blandford of Palmer, he made at Drury Lane his first appearance on any stage. Acting under Garrick he took at once to imitating his master, for which he was scourged by Churchill in the ‘Rosciad,’ ll. 322–336. In his first season he played Dorilas in ‘Merope,’ George Barnwell, Hamlet, and Chamont, and was the original Florizel in the ‘Winter's Tale, or Florizel and Perdita,’ Garrick's alteration of Shakespeare. He remained at Drury Lane until 1769, playing Jaffier, Romeo, Ferdinand in the ‘Tempest,’ Young Norval, Hotspur, Juba, Iago, Iachimo, Bajazet, Macbeth, Oakley, Faulconbridge, Prospero, and very many characters of primary importance. His original parts included Hamet in Murphy's ‘Orphan of China,’ 21 April 1759; Aboan in Hawkesworth's alteration of ‘Oroonoko,’ 1 Dec. 1759; Colonel Medway in Mrs. Sheridan's ‘Discovery,’ 3 Feb. 1763; Manly in Bickerstaffe's alteration of the ‘Plain Dealer,’ 7 Dec. 1765; Sir John Melvil in the ‘Clandestine Marriage’ of Garrick and Colman, 20 Feb. 1766; Moody in the ‘Country Girl,’ Garrick's adaptation of the ‘Country Wife,’ 25 Oct. 1766; Warwick in Dr. Franklin's ‘Earl of Warwick,’ 13 Dec. 1766; General Melmoth in Kenrick's ‘Widow's Wife,’ 5 Dec. 1767; Colonel Rivers in Kelly's ‘False Delicacy,’ 23 Jan. 1768; Teribazus in Murphy's ‘Zenobia,’ 27 Feb. 1768; Timur in Dow's ‘Zingis,’ 17 Dec. 1768; and Sir William Evans in the ‘School for Rakes’ of Mrs. Griffiths, 4 Feb. 1769. In his final season he was Richard III in Garrick's ‘Jubilee’ pageant, 14 Oct. 1769, and on the 27th of the following November as Timur in ‘Zingis’ made his last appearance. He died of small-pox on 7 Dec. 1769, and was buried on the 15th in a vault in Chiswick Church. Dr. Doran tells, after James Smith, a highly coloured narrative of Holland's betrothal to Miss Pope (Annals of the Stage, ed. Lowe, iii. 306).

Holland was a good-looking, manly actor, with a strong, resonant, well-toned voice, and great power of application. He was, however, led away by the public, and under the influence of applause became loud and extravagant. Davies, who praises his Iago and his Iachimo, says that he was illiterate, and that his spirit degenerated into vulgarity (Life of Garrick, ii. 95). Gentleman describes Holland in Iago ‘hunting after a meaning he never found’ (Dramatic Censor, i. 152). His performances at Bristol, where he first appeared in 1767, won him the warm praise of Chatterton, who spoke of nature as but a copy of his art, and said, ‘No single part is thine, thou'rt all in all’ (‘To Mr. Holland,’ Works, i. 265, Boston, 1864). Holland and Powell were of nearly the same age, were the closest of friends, and lived in the same house. Powell was introduced by Holland to Garrick. Their close friendship was derided by Foote, and many stories are current as to the shock caused to Holland by the death of Powell, whom he survived less than a year. On hearing while on the stage of Powell's death, he broke down, and had to apologise for inability to act. In some of Garrick's favourite characters, Chamont, Hastings, and Tancred, he was favourably received. Garrick speaks of him with uncustomary warmth. Dibdin, in his ‘History of the Stage,’ v. 121, praises very highly his private character, says that ‘his company was coveted by the wise and the celebrated …’ that ‘he was free, good, natural, cheerful, and generous, nor had he an unkind wish to any human creature,’ and states that he left his family 6,000l. Foote, according to the same authority, had an unfeigned regard for Holland, and went to his funeral, but did not refrain from calling the family vault the family oven, in allusion to Holland's origin as a baker, which Holland never sought to conceal. His monument in Chiswick Church, removed from its original place in the chancel to the north wall of the inside of the church tower, has a highly eulogistic inscription by Garrick. A portrait of Holland is in the Garrick Club.

[Genest's Account of the Stage; Victor's Hist. of the Theatres of London and Dublin; Jenkins's Memoirs of the Bristol Stage, 1826; O'Keeffe's Recollections; Davies's Life of Garrick; Victor's Letters; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. viii. 489, ix. 66, 138, 341; Garrick Correspondence.]

J. K.