CollectionAbington Papers

Brief draft of a manuscript biography of the life and acting career of Frances Abington, nee Barton, 'once known in St James' Park as ''Nosegay Fan''. Born in London c1738 she came to Dublin in 1759 to appear at the Smock Alley Theatre and immediately became popular, giving her name to a number of hats and caps. [She later promoted the use of red hair powder: 'Morning Herald', 1781].
She formed an alliance with Mr Needham, Member for Newry, and remained with him until his death when 'he left her beyond adversity, which his heirs discharged in a very honouable manner and she was noticed by the family in a manner rarely the consequence of an attachment of such a nature'.
In July, 1786, she returned to Dublin for an engagement of fifteen nights for which she was paid five hundred guineas. She also 'played gratis for Digges, and brought him a good house'. Cuttings show her to have been in Dublin in 1790, when she 'brought £614 into the treasury of the Dublin Theatre the first three nights of her performance', and again in 1793, appearing with Mrs Siddons. Later she lost her money and returned to the stage to play Beatrice at the age of fifty nine, appearing to great advantage, although 'her person has become lately rather en bon point'. Mrs Jordan came to see her perform in 1798 and 'spoke very highly of her acting but said she looked like a Boiled Bull Dog'. She died on 4 March, 1815 at her apartments in Pall Mall, aged 77. Gives theatres, plays, duration of runs and wages for many of her stage parts. Appeared in first production of 'School for Scandal', 1777.
Press cuttings, reviews, articles in magazines.

AccessBy prior appointment.
Century18th, 19th
Repository NameNational Library of Ireland
AddressNational Library of Ireland Department of Manuscripts 2-3 Kildare Street Dublin 2
EircodeD02 TR76
Telephone(01) 603-0386
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