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Davenport, Mary Ann

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Born at Launceston in 1759, Mary Ann Harvey made her debut at Bath in December 1784 as Lappet in “The Miser”. While acting at Exeter in 1785 she met the actor George Gosling Davenport and married him the next year. The two were strollers for some years, until they were hired at Covent Garden, where on 19 September 1794 she was favourably received as Mrs Hardcastle in “She Stoops to Conquer”. Mrs Davenport continued to please Covent Garden audiences for another 35 years. She mainly appeared in good secondary roles like Juliet’s Nurse, Mrs Peachum in “The Beggar’s Opera”, Mrs Heidelberg in “The Clandestine Marriage”, Dame Ashfield in “Speed the Plow” (G0145), Widow Warren in “The Road to Ruin”, Lady Denny in “Henry VIII” (G0144) and Fiametta in “The Tale of Mystery” (G0146). Her line of ‘affected social climbers, tedious granddams, and a whole group of elderly odd fish beloved by English audiences kept her securely a favourite’ (BDA). Her husband died in March 1814, and she survived him until her death in Brompton on 8 May 1843. Her last performance at Covent Garden had been as Juliet’s Nurse on 25 May 1830. Mrs Davenport was also the sitter for a painting by Romney, the present location of which is unknown. (BDA)
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