The actor and dramatist John Fawcett (the younger), who is represented in seven pictures in the Garrick Club collection, was born on 29 August 1768, the son of the London actors John Fawcett (d.1793) and his wife Sarah, née Plaw (fl. 1781-1796). Both parents are noticed in the BDA. The younger Fawcett was enrolled at St Paul’s School and then was apprenticed to a linen draper, but, despite his father’s objections, he was lured to the stage. He made some appearances in the provinces before playing at York, where he acted Young Norval in “Douglas” in May 1787. He earned a reputation as a tragedian on the York circuit, and married a fellow performer, Susan Mills (née Moore), the widow of the actor John Mills (d. 1787). Fawcett was signed on for the 1791-92 season at Covent Garden, where he made his debut on 21 September 1791 as Caleb in “He Wou’d Be a Soldier”. At Covent Garden he ably filled the roles left open by the recent death of the comedian John Edwin. He quickly became a favourite at that theatre, where he remained until 1830, performing numerous parts, among his best being Caleb Quotem (G0219), Robin Roughhead in “Fortune’s Frolic”, Job Thornberry in “John Bull” (G0220), Dr Pangloss in “The Heir at Law” and Lingo in “The Agreeable Surprise”. He was the original Bartholo in “The Barber of Seville” on 13 October 1818.
For some years Fawcett also was involved in the stage management of Covent Garden, a position he held until 1829. Fawcett served as treasurer and trustee of the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund for many years. He acted successfully for the younger Colman at the Haymarket for many summers, and also appeared at several provincial theatres. For almost 40 years he was a leading actor in low comedy and rustic characters, specializing in those that required singing. He was described as a brusque and bluff fellow, ideally suited for farce and ridicule. He took his leave of his public on 30 May 1830, acting Captain Copp in “Charles II” (G0224), and then retired to ‘a very pretty little cottage at Botley, near Southampton.’ He died on 13 March 1837 and was the first to be buried in the local church for which he had raised a building subscription. John Fawcett became a member of the Garrick Club in February 1833 but resigned in February 1837. In addition to those pictures of him at the Garrick Club, a number of other portraits of him were painted and engraved.
After the death of his first wife Susan Moore in 1797, Fawcett married the actress Anne Gaudry, daughter of the actor Joseph Gaudry; she retired from acting and became wardrobe mistress at Covent Garden and later worked in that capacity at Drury Lane as late as 1821-22. She died in 1849. None of Fawcett’s children seem to have become performers. (BDA)