Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/435

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Leigh
Leigh
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the murder of Mountfort the week before, greatly impoverished the company.

Cibber's estimate of Leigh is high. He classifies him, together with Mrs. Leigh, among those principal actors who 'were all original masters in their different stile, and not mere auricular imitators of one another' (Apology, ed. Lowe, i. 98-9). Charles II used to speak of Leigh as his actor (ib. i. 164). Leigh was of middle size, with a clear and an audible voice, and a countenance naturally grave, which lighted up under the possession of a comic idea. So excellent was he in the 'Spanish Fryar' of Dryden, in which Richard Estcourt [q. v.] used to imitate him, that the Earl of Dorset had his portrait painted in this character by Sir Godfrey Kneller. The portrait, which is now in the Garrick Club, is said to be very like, shows a full face, prominent eyes, and a rather heavy chin. He was, says Cibber, of 'the mercurial kind' (ib. i. 145), and without being a strict observer of nature stopped short of extravagance. The 'Spanish Fryer' was his great character, which he 'raised as much above the poet's imagination as the character has sometimes raised other actors above themselves' (ib. i. 146). Coligni in the 'Villain.' Ralph in 'Sir Solomon' by Caryll, Sir Jolly Jumble, and Belfond were his best parts. In his Sir William Belfond, says Cibber, 'Leigh show'd a more spirited variety than I ever saw any actor in any one character come up to. He seemed not to court, but to attack, your applause, and always came off victorious' (ib. 1. 153-4).

Mrs. Leigh, whose christian name appears to have been Elizabeth, was an actress or distinction, with much humour, and ' a very droll way of dressing the pretty foibles of superannuated beauties' (ib. i. 162). Cibber specially praises her modish mother in the 'Chances.' the coquette prude of an aunt in 'Sir Courtly Nice.' and Lady Wishfort in the 'Way of the World.' She disappears after the season of 1706-7. The names Lee and Leigh are used indiscriminately in early records, and the roles of Mrs. Leigh cannot be separated from those of Mrs. Mary Lee, afterwards known as Lady Slingsby. Michael Leigh, the original Daniel in 'Oxonooko.' who also played a few parts towards the close of the seventeenth century, and disappeared in 1698, was probably the son of Anthony Leigh. Francis, known to have been a son, ceased to act in 1719. He was one of the actors who on 14 June 1710 defied the authority of Aaron Hill, the manager for Collier, broke open the doors of Drury Lane, and created a not. He was also one of the many actors who, when the new-built theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields opened under John Rich in 1714, deserted to him (ib. ii. 169).

John Leigh [q. v.] appears to have been of another family.

[Genest's Account of the English Stage; Cibber's Apology, ed. Lowe; Hist, of the Stage ascribed to Betterton; Downes's Roscius Anglicanus; Davies's Dramatic Miscellanies.]

J. K.

LEIGH, CHANDOS, first Lord Leigh of the present creation (1791–1850), poet and author, was only son of James Henry Leigh (1765–1823), M.P., of Addlestrop, Gloucestershire, and subsequently of Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire, by his marriage with Julia, eldest daughter of Thomas Fiennes, tenth lord Saye and Sele. He was a descendant of Sir Thomas Leigh [q. v.], lord mayor of London in 1558, and his grandmother on his father's side was Lady Caroline, daughter of Henry Brydges, second duke of Chandos, and sister of James, third duke of Chandos. Leigh Hunt, his father, was privately educated by Isaac Hunt, father of Leigh Hunt, who was named after the elder Hunt's pupil. Chandos, born in London on 27 June 1791, was educated at Harrow School, where he was a schoolfellow of Byron. He subsequently kept several terms at Christ Churcn, Oxford, where he matriculated 8 June 1810, but left the university without a degree, and completed his education by foreign travel with Dr. Shuttleworth, afterwards bishop of Chichester, as his tutor. While a young man Leigh issued many volumes of verse, and was an associate of Sheridan, Fitzpatrick, Sir John Cam Hobhouse, Lord Byron, and other liberals of about his own age, who used to meet at Holland House. His interest in political and social questions was always keen, and he frequently corresponded on such topics with the leaders of the liberal party, including Lord Althorp, Sir James Mackintosh, and Sir Samuel Romilly. He was raised to the peerage by Lord Melbourne in May 1839, as Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh, but he took little part in the debates of the upper house, contenting himself with the discharge of his duties as an active resident magistrate in Warwickshire. He was also a trustee of Rugby School. He died 27 Sept. 1850 at Bonn on the Rhine, and was buried in the chancel of Stoneleigh Church, where there is a fine marble monument to his memory. Leigh married in June 1819 Margaret (d. 5 Feb. 1866), eldest daughter of the Rev. William Shippen Willes of Astrop House, Northamptonshire, grandson of Chief-justice John Willes [q. v.], by whom he had three sons and six daughters. The eldest son, William Henry, succeeded him as second baron.

Leigh's first publication was 'The Island