Wilson Online Reference
David Garrick, 1717-1779
Connection to Wilson
Biographical Details
David Garrick (19 February 1717 - 20 January 1779) was an actor, playwright, theatre manager, producer and impresario who influenced nearly all aspects of British theatrical practice throughout the 18th century and was a pupil and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson. For 29 years he was manager of the Drury Lane Theatre, London, during which time it rose to prominence as one of the leading theatres in Europe. At his death, three years after his retirement, he was given a lavish public funeral at Westminster Abbey where he was interred at Poets' Corner. Garrick mixed with the major artists of his day, including Wilson, who is likely to have painted the landscape backgrounds in two pairs of paintings by Johan Zoffany of 1762: The Garden at Hampton House, with Mr and Mrs Garrick taking Tea and The Shakespeare Temple at Hampton House, with Mr and Mrs Garrick (both Garrick Club, London); also A View of Hampton House and Garden with David Garrick sitting on the Lawn reading (Petworth House, Sussex) and Garrick's Nieces in the Garden at Hampton (private collection).

Garrick made a Grand Tour in 1763-65 and in Rome sat for his portrait by Nathaniel Dance and Batoni (1764, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford) as well as a bust by Nollekens. An anonymous writer also recorded in 1790 how Garrick and Wilson frequented the same sophisticated metropolitan circles: 'There was some time ago, a select Society of ingenious Gentlemen, who met at the Turk's Head Tavern, Gerrard Street, Soho, viz. Mr. Edmund Burke, Mr. Garrick, Sir Joshua Reynolds, the late Mr. Gainsborough, Mr. West, &c. who were always happy when Richard Wilson made his appearance amongst them, as he contributed to enliven the company by his convivial disposition, having the most happy manner of relating a Story, or ludicrous incident, of any man.' (Wilson and Europe 2014, pp. 140 and 147, n. 81).

Garrick owned at least one painting by Wilson: P86C The River Dee near Eaton Hall , Tyntesfield, National Trust.
Patronage of Works
P86C The River Dee near Eaton Hall , Tyntesfield, National Trust
Significant institutions
Drury Lane Theatre, London; Turk's Head Tavern, Soho