Oil on canvas
Mrs Cole : The Minor
height (frame): 46cm
width (frame): 37.5cm
John Bell; Charles Mathews
1833 London, Queen's Bazaar, Oxford Street, "Mr Mathews's Gallery of Theatrical Portraits" (367)
1951 London, Tate Gallery, "Pictures from the Garrick Club" (10)
1971 Northampton, Central Art Gallery, "The De Wildes" (9)
1997 London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, "Dramatic Art
Theatrical Paintings from the Garrick Club" (29)
William S. Leney for Bell's British Library 29 September 1792, line 10.2 x 7.6, pub. Bell's British Theatre (1797), vol 2, with the inscription "All shall have their call as Mr Squintum says sooner or later"
Anon. Printed for C. Cooke 23 January 1809
Mrs Cole is an inebriated brothel keeper who suffers from gout and lives in Covent Garden Piazza. Mr Squintum (mentioned in the quotation printed on the engraving) is an imaginary character whom Mrs Cole evokes as the source of her more philosophical comments. Mrs Cole wears black shoes, an enormous long-sleeved light blue dress embroidered with flowers, a black cloak lined in pink, and a large frilled cap with a pink bow on top.
Foote's comedy was originally performed in a two-act version at the Crow Street Theatre, Dublin, on 28 January 1760. The first London performance followed shortly afterwards, in a three-act version, at the Haymarket Theatre on 28 June 1760, with Foote as Mrs Cole. Henry Angelo's "first and only Appearance" as Mrs Cole was at the King's Theatre on 29 March 1792. The Drury Lane company was temporarily established in the opera house and the occasion was John Bannister's benefit. See Henry Angelo's “Reminiscences” (1828), I: 331-32.