the elder [q. v.], whom he had been the means of bringing into the association, against Harris and Rutherford. In his last season he played Ford in the ‘Merry Wives of Windsor,’ Alwin in the ‘Countess of Salisbury,’ Young Bevil in ‘Conscious Lovers,’ and was, 3 Dec. 1768, the original Cyrus in Hoole's ‘Cyrus,’ and, 18 Jan. 1769, the original Courteney in Mrs. Lennox's ‘Sister.’ On the closing night of the season, 26 May 1769, he played Cyrus, being his last appearance in London.
At an early date Powell had become an unexampled favourite in Bristol, where, at the Jacob's Well Theatre, on 13 Aug. 1764, he took his first benefit as Lear. On the erection of the King Street Theatre, the foundation-stone of which was laid on 30 Nov. 1764, Powell became associated with two local men named Arthur and Clarke. The lease of the house was for seven years. On 30 May 1766 it opened with the ‘Conscious Lovers,’ given gratis, with Powell as Young Bevil. The license not having been yet obtained, the entertainment was announced as a concert; and the piece named and the ‘Citizen,’ in which James William Dodd [q. v.] took part, were given without charge. A prologue, written by Garrick, was spoken by Powell. On 31 May 1769 Powell made, in this edifice, as Jaffier, his last appearance on the stage. The following day he caught cold, playing cricket. His illness became severe, and King Street, in which, near the theatre, he lived, was barred by chains against carriages, by order of the magistrates. On Friday, at the request of his family and physician, the performances were suspended to avoid disturbing him, and on Monday, 3 July, at seven in the morning, he died. ‘Richard III’ was given that evening, and Holland, then manager, had to apologise for the inability of the actors to play their parts. The audience voluntarily dispensed with the closing farce. Powell was buried on the following Thursday in the cathedral church, Colman, Holland, and Clarke, with all the performers of the theatre, attending the funeral, which was conducted by the dean. An anthem was sung by the choir. On 14 July the ‘Roman Father’ was performed in Bristol for the benefit of Powell's family, most of the audience appearing in black. An address by Colman was spoken by Holland, who did not long survive. A monument in the north aisle of the cathedral, erected by his widow, has an epitaph, also by Colman. Powell's wife made a début as Ophelia in Bristol in July 1766, but did not reach London. She married, in September 1771, John Abraham Fisher [q. v.] Miss E. Powell appeared in Ireland, where she married H. P. Warren, an actor, and died as Mrs. Martindale in King Street, Covent Garden, in 1821. Another daughter married Mr. White, clerk of the House of Commons, and left daughters who were shareholders in Covent Garden Theatre.
Powell was a worthy man, an entertaining companion, and an actor of high mark. He was above middle height, and, though round-shouldered, well proportioned, and with an expressive countenance. His voice, which he abused, was musical rather than powerful. It has been said of him that he burst upon the stage with every perfection but experience. His acting, as luxuriant as a wilderness, had a thousand beauties and a thousand faults. In impassioned scenes tears came faster than words, choking frequently his utterance.
A portrait of Powell, by Mortimer, as King John to the Hubert of Bensley and the ‘Messenger’ of Smith, is in the Mathews collection in the Garrick Club, in which is a second portrait by an unknown artist. There is an engraved portrait of him as Cyrus, and Smith mentions (Catalogue Raisonné) other portraits by both Lawrenson and Pyle.
[Lives of Powell are given in the Georgian Era, Rose's Biogr. Dict., and in most dramatic compilations, while references to him are abundant in the biographies of actors of the last century. See more particularly Genest's Account of the English Stage; Manager's Notebook; Jenkins's Memoirs of the Bristol Stage; Davies's Life of Garrick and Dramatic Miscellanies; Gilliland's Dramatic Synopsis and Dramatic Mirror; Garrick Correspondence; Murphy's Life of Garrick; Bernard's Retrospections; Reed's Notitia Dramatica (MS.); Wilkinson's Wandering Patentee; Boaden's Life of Mrs. Jordan; O'Keeffe's Memoirs; Doran's Annals of the Stage, ed. Lowe; Victor's History of the Theatres; Clark Russell's Representative Actors; Thespian Dictionary.]
POWELL, WILLIAM SAMUEL (1717–1775), divine, was born at Colchester on 27 Sept. 1717, being the elder son of the Rev. Francis Powell, who married Susan, daughter of Samuel Reynolds (d. 1694), M.P. for Colchester, and widow of George Jolland. Her eldest brother married Frances, daughter of Charles Pelham of Brocklesby, Lincolnshire, of the family of the Duke of Newcastle, and on the death, in 1760, of their son, Charles Reynolds of Peldon Hall, Essex, that estate, with other property in Little Bentley and Wix, in the same county, came to Powell (Morant, Essex, i. 419, 447, 468). He was educated at Colchester grammar school, under the Rev. Palmer Smythies, and admitted pensioner at St. John's College, Cambridge, on 4 July 1734. In November 1735 he was elected a foundation scholar, and he held exhibitions from his college in November 1735, 1736, and 1738.