Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/623

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Mellon
Melville
603

demonstrated her versatility by playing Peg Woffington in 'Masks and Faces' and Tom Croft in 'The School for Tigers.' On 20 Dec. 1867 she was the original Sally Goldstraw in Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins's drama 'No Thoroughfare.' In March 1875 she played Mrs. Squeers in a revival of Halliday's version of 'Nicholas Nickleby,' and in the following October Gretchen to Joe Jefferson's Rip Van Winkle. But, failing to keep step with the steady march towards naturalness, she came to be considered stilted and over pronounced, and she gradually lost caste. On 15 May 1878 a testimonial performance of 'The Green Bushes' was given on her behalf at Drury Lane, when Madame Celeste made her last appearance on the stage. On 14 May 1879 she reappeared at the Adelphi as Mrs. Candour in a revival of 'The School for Scandal,' and there on 24 April 1880 she played Mrs. O'Kelly in the first performance given in England of 'The Shaughraun.' On 2 August following, at the Haymarket, she was the original Miss Sniffe in Boucicault's comedy 'A Bridal Tour.' She remained on the stage till 1883.

Mrs. Mellon died at her residence, Vardens Road, Wandsworth Common, after a very brief illness, on 8 Sept. 1909, and was buried in Brompton cemetery beside her husband, whom she survived forty-two years. She left two daughters, of whom the younger. Miss Mary Woolgar Mellon, became an actress. 'In her prime,' writes John Coleman, 'Miss Woolgar was one of the most accomplished all-round actresses of her day; tragedy, comedy, melodrama, farce, or burlesque — nothing came amiss to her. . . . In high comedy she lacked distinction and hauteur; but a plenitude of sprightliness, piquancy, and even elegance, atoned for this drawback.' At the Victorian Era Exhibition in Earl's Court in 1897 was shown a water-colour drawing, by T. Harrington Wilson, of Mrs. Mellon as Laura in 'Sweethearts and Wives' (1849), lent by the artist. At the Toole sale at Sotheby's in November 1906 were sold an oil-painting by R. Clothier of Toole and Miss Woolgar in the milkmaid scene from 'The Willow Copse' (1869) and a water-colour sketch by Alfred Edward Chalon of Miss Woolgar as the Countess in 'Taming a Tartar.'

[Thomas Marshall's Lives of the Most Celebrated Actors and Actresses (1847); Theatrical Journal, vol. xi. 1854; Era Almanacks for 1875 and 1877; Gentleman's Magazine. Oct. 1888; T. Edgar Pemberton's Dickens and the Stage; Prof. Henry Morley's Journal of a London Playgoer; John Coleman's The Truth about 'The Dead Heart,' 1890; The Bancroft Memoirs, 1909; Daily Telegraph, 10 Sept. 1909; Athenæum, 18 Sept. 1900 : personal research.]

W. J. L.


MELVILLE, ARTHUR (1855–1904), artist, born at Loanhead of Guthrie, Forfarshire, on 10 April 1866 (Parish Register), was fourth son (in the family of seven sons and two daughters) of Arthur Melvilie, a coachman, by his wife Margaret Wann. When Arthur was quite young the family removed to East Linton, a picturesque village on the Haddingtonshire Esk. There he went to school, and at an early ago was apprenticed to a grocer. Devoted to drawing from childhood, he gave up a situation at Dalkeith, when about twenty, and went to Edinburgh, determined to become an artist. He worked with energy and enthusiasm in the school of art, and later in the life school of the Royal Scottish Academy, receiving encouragement from J. Campbell Noble, R.S.A., of whom he was a personal pupil.

In 1875 he exhibited for the first time at the Scottish Academy, and during the next few years painted some oil pictures of homely incident, which secured the interest of one or two local connoisseurs and led to his going to Paris in 1878. There he studied at Julien's Passage Panorama atelier and sketched on the quays. He also painted at Grez and Granville, and it was in the work then done in water-colour, though his oil pictures distinctive qualities also, that to reveal the special qualities which developed rapidly and distinguished his art to the end. Three years later, in 1881, he went to Egypt, where he found material and effects eminently suited to stimulate his artistic development. From Egypt he went by Suez and Aden to Kurrachi, whence he found his way up the Persian Gulf to Bagdad, rode across Asia Minor to the Black Sea, and took steamer to Constantinople. During these two years he made many striking drawings and stored up a wealth of impressions, which bore fruit in future years.

When Melville returned to Scotland, the artistic movement, which issued in what came to be known as the Glasgow school, had already begun. There was a certain affinity between his work and that of the young Glasgow painters. Meeting Mr. (now Sir James) Guthrie and E. A. Walton at Cockburnspath in 1883,