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Gibbs, Mary

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Mary Logan was born in 1770, one of three daughters of an Irish theatrical couple. She probably appeared on the stage in Ireland before she made her debut in London at the Haymarket Theatre as Sally in “Man and Wife” on 18 June 1783. At that time she was called ‘a Very Young Lady.’ She was similarly advertised when she played that role at Covent Garden on 7 May 1784, but when she returned to the Haymarket on 28 June to play the title role in “Polly Honeycombe” she was identified as Miss Logan. After some appearances in Palmer’s company at the Royalty Theatre, during which time she changed her name to Mrs Gibbs, she appeared once at Drury Lane in 1788 and then disappeared for five years. She surfaced next at the Haymarket on 15 June 1793 as Bridget in “The Chapter of Accidents”, and began her engagement at Drury Lane in September 1794. In 1797 the peripatetic Mrs Gibbs transferred to Covent Garden for several seasons, and in the early part of the nineteenth century was seen at the winter patent houses and at the summer Haymarket. She developed an extensive repertoire of roles, mainly in musical comedies, and was especially outstanding as Cowslip in “The Agreeable Surprise”, Mary in “John Bull”, Ciceley in “Heir at Law” and Grace Gaylove in “The Review”. She also succeeded as Blanch in “The Iron Chest” (G0258) and Selima in “The Tale of Mystery” (G0260), roles in which she was shown by De Wilde, who also painted her as Miss Hoyden in “The Relapse” and Lady Elizabeth Freelove. (De Wilde also did several portraits of her in private character). Mrs Gibbs evoked high praise from the press, which reported her beauty and ability to inspire and her ‘rustic innocence, simplicity and artless truth; she was called one of the ‘most interesting and beautiful women on the stage.’ About 1795 she began to live with George Colman the younger, manager of the Haymarket, in whose pieces she often performed. She was received everywhere as Colman’s wife – though he already had a wife – and Mary lived with him in ‘perfect domestic happiness’ until Colman’s death in 1836. She then retired to Brighton, where she died sometime after 1844. (BDA)
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