Helena Saville Faucit - Encyclopedia

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HELENA SAVILLE FAUCIT (1817-1898), English actress, the daughter of John Saville Faucit, an actor, was born in London. Her first London appearance was made on the 5th of January 1836 at Covent Garden as Julia in The Hunchback. Her success in this was so definitely confirmed by her subsequent acting of Juliet, Lady Teazle, Beatrice, Imogen and Hermione, that within eighteen months she was engaged by Macready as leading lady at Covent Garden. There, besides appearing in several Shakespearian characters, she created the heroine's part in Lytton's Duchess de la Valliere (1836), Lady of Lyons (1838), Richelieu (1839), The Sea Captain (1839), Money (1840), and Browning's Straf f ord (1837). After a visit to Paris and a short season at the Haymarket, she joined the Drury Lane company under Macready early in 1842. There she played Lady Macbeth, Constance in King John, Desdemona and Imogen, and took part in the first production of Westland Marston's Patrician's Daughter (1842) and Browning's Blot on the Scutcheon (1843). Among her successful tours was included a visit to Paris in 18 441845, where she acted with Macready in several Shakespearian plays. In 1851 she was married to Mr (afterwards Sir) Theodore Martin, but still acted occasionally for charity. One of her last appearances was as Beatrice, on the opening of the Shakespeare Memorial at Stratford-on-Avon on the 23rd of April 1879. In 1881 there appeared in Blackwood's Magazine the first of her Letters on some of Shakespeare's Heroines, which were published in book form as On Some of Shakespeare's Female Characters (1885). Lady Martin died at her home near Llangollen in Wales on the 31st of October 1898. There is a tablet to her in the Shakespeare Memorial with a portrait figure, and the marble pulpit in the Shakespeare church - with her portrait as Saint Helena - was given in her memory by her husband.

See Sir Theodore Martin's Helena Faucit (1900).

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