Born in London on 3 January 1797, this singer and manager was the daughter of the engraver Gaetano Stephano Bartolozzi (1757-1821) and the granddaughter of Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815), a Florentine stipple engraver in the service of George III. Lucia was married briefly to Auguste-Armand Vestris (1788-1825), a member of the Vestris dynasty of dancers in Paris and London (see the BDA 15: 146-154). She appeared in Italian operas in London in 1815 and scored a success in the title role of Moncrieff’s “Giovanni in London” in 1817. After several years in Paris she returned to London to perform at Covent Garden and Drury Lane and became a favourite in breeches parts. In 1830 she took over the lease of the Olympic Theatre, which she opened with Planché’s burlesque “Olympic Revels”. With a strong company that included John Liston and Maria Foote, she presented a number of burlesques and extravaganzas. Also in the company was Charles James Mathews (q.v.), whom she married in 1838, and subsequently they managed the Lyceum and Covent Garden until 1854.
Madame Vestris was an excellent manager; she insisted on realistic props and accurate costumes and is credited with introducing the box set, with a ceilinged room, in November 1832. She died in London on 8 August 1856. Biographies of her have been written by Leo Waitzkin, “The Witch of Wych Street” (1933); Charles Pearce, “Madame Vestris and her Times” (1969); Clifford Williams, “Madame Vestris” (1973); and William Appleton, “Madame Vestris and the London Stage” (1974).