Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 47.djvu/108

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


Simon Flourish, on 10 Jan. 1797 the first Vortex in Morton's ‘Cure for the Heartache,’ and on 4 March Lord Priory in Mrs. Inchbald's ‘Wives as they were and Men as they are.’ In his last season he was, 23 Nov. 1797, the first Scud in Cumberland's ‘False Impressions,’ 11 Jan. 1798 the first Nicholas in Morton's ‘Secrets worth Knowing,’ and 13 Feb. the first Lord Vibrate in Holcroft's or Fenwick's ‘He's much to blame.’ On 11 April, for his benefit, he gave a description of the Roman puppet show. On 13 April he played his last original part, probably Admiral Delroy, in Cumberland's ‘Eccentric Lover.’ About this time, on the score of declining health, he resigned his long engagement at Covent Garden. His object was to obtain the option of playing less frequently, but much to his disappointment he was not engaged the following season. On 9 May 1799, for the benefit of Miss Leak, he appeared for the first time at Drury Lane, and played Hardy in the ‘Belle's Stratagem,’ and Lovegold in the ‘Miser.’ On 12 June 1800, for O'Keeffe's benefit, he played at Covent Garden Alibi in the ‘Lie of the Day,’ and Drugget in ‘Three Weeks after Marriage;’ and for another benefit appeared next day as Isaac in the ‘Duenna.’ For this part he was engaged at Drury Lane in 1801–2, but he seems to have played no other. In 1809 he took a tour in the north, appearing in Edinburgh, 25 Jan., as Sir Benjamin Dove in the ‘Brothers.’ In 1809—probably on 5 Sept.—still in the same character, he made his first appearance at the Lyceum. On 24 May 1813 he came again from his retirement, taking part at the Haymarket Opera House in a benefit to Mrs. Mattocks, in which he played Don Felix in the ‘Wonder.’ This seems to have been his last appearance. Out of his earnings he saved 10,000l., on the interest of which he lived, residing during his later years in Hornsey Row, subsequently Will's Row, Islington. He was in the habit, up to the last day of his life, of presiding over a ‘social gathering’ held at the King's Head tavern, Islington. He died on 4 April 1831, and was buried beneath the old chapel-of-ease at Lower Holloway. In early life he married at Bristol the daughter of a clergyman named Parker, and had by her a son, William, and a daughter, Mrs. Mary Anne Davenport (Gent. Mag. 1831, i. 74).

Quick, ‘the retired Dioclesian of Islington,’ as Mathews called him, ‘with his squeak like a Bart'lemew fiddle,’ was, on the same authority, a ‘pleasant little fellow,’ without ‘an atom of improper consequence in his composition.’ He was so small in frame that Anthony Pasquin calls him ‘the smart tiny Quick.’ He was held an honest man, and generous without being extravagant. He was the favourite actor of George III, who continually insisted upon his appearance, and is said to have more than once addressed him, and even to have promised, according to a very improbable story, to make his daughter a maid of honour. Quick was unsurpassed in old men. Isaac Mendoza, in the ‘Duenna,’ appears to have been his great part. He was also one of the best of First Gravediggers. Other parts in which he ranked very high were Beau Mordecai, Tony Lumpkin, Poor Vulcan, Little French Lawyer, Dromio of Ephesus, King Arthur in ‘Tom Thumb,’ Bobby Pendragon, Spado, Launce, and Sir John Tremor. Edwin was more popular than Quick, but was not, holds Genest, so good an actor. Edwin had to be fitted with new parts, while on the revival of an old comedy Quick was generally included in the cast. The author of ‘Candid and Impartial Strictures on the Performers,’ &c., 1795, says: ‘His comic talents are purely original, and, though not richly fraught with a mellowness of humour, still possess a certain quaintness and whimsicality that prove such incentives to laughter that the most cynical disposition cannot withstand their influence’ (p. 53). Some want of variety is imputed to him. Davies classes him with Parsons as ‘born to relax the muscles and set mankind a tittering.’

A portrait of Quick as Alderman Arable in ‘Speculation,’ with Munden as Project and Lewis as Tanjore, painted by Zoffany at the express desire of George III, is now in the Garrick Club. In this the portrait of Quick is repeated in a picture behind him. Other portraits of him, also in the Garrick Club, are by Dewilde, as Old Doiley in ‘Who's the Dupe?’ by Dupont as Spado in the ‘Castle of Andalusia,’ and by Dighton as Isaac in the ‘Duenna.’ In 1775 Thomas Parkinson painted a scene from ‘She stoops to conquer,’ in which Quick appears as Tony Lumpkin, to the Hardcastle of Shuter and the Mrs. Hardcastle of Mrs. Green. This was engraved by R. Laurie. Somewhat later William Score painted a portrait, which was engraved. An engraving by Charteris of a portrait in the possession of Quick appears in Gilliland's ‘Dramatic Mirror,’ and shows a pleasant and somewhat chubby face (cf. Bromley, Catalogue).

[Works cited; Genest's Account of the English Stage; Richard Jenkins's Memoirs of the Bristol Stage; Wheatley and Cunningham's London Past and Present; Smith's Catalogue of Portraits; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters; Davies's Dramatic Miscellanies; Clark Russell's Representative Actors; Thespian Dictionary;