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date: 14 November 2019

Fenton [Beswick], Lavinia locked

  • Elizabeth Forbes,
  • Olive Baldwin
  •  and Thelma Wilson

Extract

(b Westminster, London, Oct 7, 1710; d Greenwich, Jan 24, 1760). English actress and singer . She made her acting début in 1726 at the Haymarket Theatre, London, and sprang to fame in 1728 when she created Polly Peachum in The Beggar’s Opera at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre. After she had sung the part more than 60 times she retired, becoming mistress of the third Duke of Bolton, who married her immediately after the death of his wife in 1751 – 23 years after taking her off the stage. Hogarth’s contemporary painting of The Beggar’s Opera shows the duke, in a box on stage, staring lovingly at her. The toast of the town by the age of 17, she combined ingenuous sweetness and youthful charm.

BDA DNB LS The Life of Lavinia Beswick, alias Fenton (London, 1728) H. Carey: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1729) C. E. Pearce: Polly Peachum...

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The London Stage, 1660-1800 (Carbondale, IL, 1960-68)
Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 1885-1901, suppls., 1901-96)
A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800 (Carbondale, IL, 1973-93)