Thomas Sheridan (16 or 17 November 1775 – 12 September 1817), known as Tom Sheridan, was the only son of the Irish playwright and poet Richard Brinsley Sheridan and the soprano Elizabeth Ann Linley, although his father had at least one other son from a second marriage. Born in mid-November 1775, Thomas initially tried for a career in politics but was unsuccessful.
The courtship of Sheridan's parents, the soprano Elizabeth Ann Linley and the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, was described in newspaper reports as "one of the classic romances of the west country" and stated that his mother was "the most beautiful singer in England";she abandoned her career as a singer when she married Richard in April 1773 as he thought her profession reflected badly on his status as a gentleman. She had several miscarriages before Sheridan was born in mid-November 1775; she named him after Thomas Linley, and Thomas Sheridan, his maternal and paternal grandfathers respectively. The young Sheridan was sent to boarding school in Hatton, Warwickshire in early 1786, where he was educated by Samuel Parr. Parr described him as having "great acuteness, excellent understanding, wit and humour, but not a particle of knowledge." The English historian William Smyth was engaged as his tutor after the death of Sheridan's mother in 1792. Sheridan entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1795. According to Smyth, Sheridan was the "idol of the young men" when at Cambridge and his fellow students thought him "the cleverest fellow in the place", although Smyth added his own rider clarifying that in humour and fun this was the case.
Sheridan married Caroline Henrietta Callander of Craigforth (1779–1851), a daughter of Sir James Campbell, on 21 June 1805.Sheridan's father was initially against the marriage, and threatened to sever financial support to his son; Caroline did have a small inheritance but it was insufficient to fully support the couple. They had six or seven children. Their eldest son, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, was appointed as High Sheriff of Dorset in 1838 and pursued a political career. The couple's daughters included Helen Blackwood, Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye; the feminist Caroline Norton; and Georgiana Seymour, Duchess of Somerset.
Sheridan unsuccessfully tried for a political career, firstly being involved in political shenanigans with his father to gain the Liskeard seat in 1804.He failed to be elected at Stafford in 1806 and 1807. He briefly served in the army in 1803 under Lord Moira as aide-de-camp then in Ireland where he served as a muster-master general in 1806. That year, his father gifted him a 25 per cent share of the Drury Lane Theatre where Sheridan became the manager. He also undertook managerial duties at the Lyceum Theatre, London while still managing the Theatre Royal. He wrote poetry, plays and melodramas, including Description of Characters in 1808 and The Russian, which was staged for 11 performances at Drury Lane from 13 May 1813. According to the tenor Michael Kelly, a leading figure in British musical theatre, Sheridan had "a good voice, and a true taste for music". Sheridan's verse about the loss of the frigate, Saldanha, on the coastline of Ireland on 4 December 1811, was described by Captain Jesse in the biography The Life of George Brummell as having more originality than any of Sheridan's father's poems.
A manuscript for the play The Siege of St Quintin staged at the Drury Lane Theatre in November 1808 demonstrates the working methods used by Sheridan and his father while managing the theatre. Drafts were read through and checked by Sheridan senior, further revised by the son and then transcribed.
While carrying out his army service under Lord Moira in Edinburgh, Sheridan was intimately involved with the wife of Peter Campbell, a wealthy businessman whose work had taken him to the West Indies. The affair led to the break up of the Campbell's marriage and in 1807, Sheridan was convicted of criminal conversation over it. Campbell was awarded £1,500 compensation, which Sheridan paid with money loaned by actors from the Drury Lane Theatre.
Like many of his relatives, including his mother and aunt, Sheridan was afflicted with tuberculosis and he moved abroad with his wife and eldest daughter to ease the symptoms; he was appointed as the Colonial Governor's treasurer at the Cape of Good Hope in 1813as a result of his father's influence with the Duke of York.
Four years after taking up his appointment at the Cape of Good Hope, Sheridan died of tuberculosis on 12 September 1817;his body was transported back to Britain and buried at Wells Cathedral in his mother's grave. After his death, his widow, together with his eldest daughter returned to Britain. She adopted a reclusive lifestyle but made a name for herself by authoring several books before her death in 1851.
Thomas Gainsborough painted several family portraits, particularly of Sheridan's mother, Elizabeth; a lesser known painting of Sheridan was purchased by an American art collector in 1928.
Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan was an Irish satirist, a playwright, poet, and long-term owner of the London Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. He is known for his plays such as The Rivals, The School for Scandal, The Duenna and A Trip to Scarborough. He was also a Whig MP for 32 years in the British House of Commons for Stafford (1780–1806), Westminster (1806–1807), and Ilchester (1807–1812). He is buried at Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. His plays remain a central part of the canon and are regularly performed worldwide.
Frances Sheridan was an Anglo-Irish novelist and playwright.
Thomas Linley was an English bass and musician active in Bath, Somerset. Born in Badminton, Gloucestershire, Linley began his musical career after he moved to Bath at age 11 and became apprentice to the organist Thomas Chilcot. After his marriage to Mary Johnson in 1752, Linley at first supported his wife and growing family predominantly as a music teacher. As his children grew and he developed their musical talent, he drew an increasing amount of income from their concerts while also managing the assembly rooms in Bath. When the new Bath Assembly Rooms opened in 1771, Linley became musical director and continued to promote his children's careers. He was eventually able to move to London with the thousands of pounds which he had amassed from their concerts.
Michael Kelly was an Irish singer (tenor), composer and theatrical manager who made an international career of importance in musical history. One of the leading figures in British musical theatre around the turn of the nineteenth century, and a close associate of Richard Sheridan's, he had been a friend of Mozart and Paisiello, and created roles in operas of both. With his friend Nancy Storace, he was one of the first singers in that age from Britain and Ireland to make a front-rank reputation in Italy and Austria. In Italy he was also known as O'Kelly or even Signor Ochelli. Although the primary source for his life is his Reminiscences, it has been said 'Any statement of Kelly's is immediately suspect.'
Elizabeth Ann Sheridan was a singer who possessed great beauty. She was the subject of several paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, who was a family friend, Joshua Reynolds and Richard Samuel. An adept poet and writer, she became involved with the Blue Stockings Society and participated in Whig politics.
Thomas (Tom) Linley the younger was the eldest son of the composer Thomas Linley the elder and his wife Mary Johnson. He was one of the most precocious composers and performers that have been known in England, and became known as the "English Mozart".
Maria Linley was an English singer.
Events from the year 1777 in Ireland.
The Duenna is a three-act comic opera, mostly composed by Thomas Linley the elder and his son, Thomas Linley the younger, to an English-language libretto by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. At the time, it was considered one of the most successful operas ever staged in England, and its admirers included Samuel Johnson, William Hazlitt and Lord George Byron.
The Glorious First of June is a 1794 play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. It depicts the Glorious First of June, a British naval victory over the French that took place on 1 June 1794 during the French Revolutionary War. It premiered on 2 July 1794 at the Drury Lane theatre, and was based on newspaper accounts of the battle. It contains a debate on the question of naval patriotism – a key issue at the time. The profits made from the play were donated to the families of those killed in the battle.
Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1787) is an oil on canvas portrait painted by Thomas Gainsborough between 1785 and 1787. It was acquired by the National Gallery of Art in 1937. Mrs. Sheridan was a talented musician who enjoyed professional success in Bath and London before marrying Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1773 and abandoning her career. She was 31-33 when she sat for Gainsborough, dying from tuberculosis seven years later at the age of thirty-eight. The portrait was painted between 1785 and 1787, and, was exhibited at Gainsborough's studio at Schomberg House, Pall Mall in 1786.
The King Street Theatre was the first purpose-built theatre to open in Birmingham, England. The town had had earlier theatres, but the Theatre in Smallbrook Street, whose origins dated back to 1715, and Theatre in New Street, which was in an existence a few years later, were both makeshift structures; and the more substantial Moor Street Theatre, which opened in 1740, was a conversion of an existing building. King Street was a much more ambitious undertaking, being based on the examples of the established London patent theatres.
Theophilus Keene (1680-1718) was a British stage actor and theatre manager.
John Mills (c.1670-1736) was a British stage actor. A long-standing part of the Drury Lane company from 1695 until his death, he appeared in both comedies and tragedies. His wife Margaret Mills was an actress, and his son William Mills also became an actor at Drury Lane.
Henry Giffard (1694-1772) was a British stage actor and theatre manager.
Thomas Griffith (1680-1744) was an Irish stage actor and theatre manager.
Frances Cross (1707-1781) was a British stage actress.
Richard Hurst was a British stage actor.
Thomas Hollingsworth (1748-1814) was a British stage actor.
Maria Smith was a British stage actress of the late eighteenth century.