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JOHN GILBERT (1810-1889)

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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 9 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN GILBERT (1810-1889), American actor, whose real name was Gibbs, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 27th of February. 1810, and made his first appearance there as Jaffier in Venice Preserved. He soon found that his true vein was in comedy, particularly in old-men parts. When in London in 1847 he was well received both by press and public, and played with Macready. He was the leading actor at Wallack's from 1861-1888. He died on the 17th of June 1889. See William Winter's Life of John Gilbert (New York, 1890). GILBERT, SIR JOHN (1817-1897), English painter and illustrator, one of the eight children of George Felix Gilbert, a member of a Derbyshire family, was born at Blackheath on the 21st of July 1817. He went to school there, and even in childhood displayed an extraordinary fondness for drawing and painting. Nevertheless, his father's lack of means compelled him to accept employment for the boy in the office of Messrs Dickson & Bell, estate agents, in Charlotte Row, London. Yielding, however, to his natural bent, his parents agreed that he should take up art in his own way, which included but little advice from others, his only teacher being Haydon's pupil, George Lance, the fruit painter. This artist gave him brief instructions in the use of colour. In 1836 Gilbert appeared in public for the first time. This was at the gallery of the Society of British Artists, where he sent drawings, the subjects of which were characteristic, being " The Arrest of Lord Hastings," from Shakespeare, and "Abbot Boniface," from The Monastery of Scott. "Inez de Castro " was in the same gallery in the next year; it was the first of a long series of works in the same medium, representing similar themes, and was accompanied, from 1837, by a still greater number of works in oil which were exhibited at the British Institution. These included " Don Quixote giving advice to Sancho Panza," 1841; " Brunette and Phillis," from The Spectator, 1844; " The King's Artillery at Marston Moor," 186o; and " Don Quixote comes back for the last time to his Home and Family," 1867. In that year the Institution was finally closed. Gilbert exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1838, beginning with the " Portrait of a Gentle-man," and continuing, except between 1851 and 1867, till his death to exhibit there many of his best and more ambitious works. These included such capital instances as " Holbein she appeared with considerable success in Germany, Poland and Russia. Thence she went'-to Paris, and in 1847 appeared at Munich, where she became the mistress of the old king of Bavaria, Ludwig I.; she was naturalized, created comtesse de Landsfeld, and given an income of £2000 a year. She soon proved herself the real ruler of Bavaria, adopting a liberal and anti-Jesuit policy. Her political opponents proved, however, too strong for her, and in 1848 she was banished. In 1849 she came to England, and in the same year was married to George Heald, a young officer in the Guards. Her husband's guardian instituted a prosecution for bigamy against her on the ground that her divorce from Captain James had not been made absolute, and she fled with Heald to Spain. In 1851 she appeared at the Broadway theatre, New York, and in the following year at the Walnut Street theatre, Philadelphia. In 1853 Heald was drowned at Lisbon, and in the same year she married the proprietor of a San Francisco newspaper, but did not live long with him. Subsequently she appeared in Australia, but returned, in 1857, to act in America, and to lecture on gallantry. Her health having broken down, she devoted the rest of her life to visiting the outcasts of her own sex in New York, where, stricken with paralysis, she died on the 17th of January 1861. See E. B. D'Auvergne, Lola Montez (Nev York, 1909).
End of Article: JOHN GILBERT (1810-1889)
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