Lacy, Harriette Deborah (DNB00)


LACY, HARRIETTE DEBORAH (1807–1874), actress, daughter of a London tradesman named Taylor, was born in London in 1807. Her parents acquiescing in her desire to go on the stage she received lessons in elocution from Mrs. Bartley, wife of the Covent Garden manager, and made her début as Julia in the ‘Rivals’ under the management of Bellamy at the Bath Theatre on 5 Nov. 1827, when she was described on the bill as ‘Miss Taylor from Richmond.’ She obtained almost instant popularity, and in the course of the two following seasons Bellamy assigned her such parts as Portia, Helen McGregor, Lady Macbeth, and Catherine in the ‘Taming of the Shrew.’ She first appeared in London at Covent Garden, where, on 30 Oct. 1830, she played Nina in Dimond's ‘Carnival of Naples,’ and ‘burst upon us,’ says the ‘Theatrical Journal’ of that date, ‘with a natural freshness and power that must at once secure her fame, and prove of signal advantage to the house.’ Subsequent parts were Rosalind, in which Bannister compared her to Mrs. Jordan, and Helen to Sheridan Knowles's Hunchback in his play of that name, in which her performance excited the author's warmest admiration. She played Aspatia, to Macready's Melantius and Miss Huddart's Evadne, in the ‘Bridal’ under Benjamin Webster's management at the Haymarket in 1837, and in the following year she joined the company with which Macready commenced his management of Covent Garden. There in August 1838 she played Lady Teazle to the Charles Surface of Walter Lacy, whom she shortly afterwards married. For twelve years further she ‘played leading comedy, tragedy, and Vestris business,’ mainly at Covent Garden. Among her best performances were Nell Gwynne in Jerrold's play of that name (with the once well-known song, ‘Buy my Oranges’), the original heroine in the same writer's ‘Housekeeper,’ and Ophelia, a part in which, according to Madame Vestris, she surpassed any actress of her time. She retired from the stage in 1848, making her farewell appearance at the Olympic. She died on 28 July 1874 at Montpellier Square, Brighton.

[Era, 2 Aug. 1874; Clark Russell's Representative Actors, Appendix, p. 441; Pascoe's Dramatic List, p. 242; Archer's Macready, pp. 107, 110.]

T. S.