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Smith, Richard

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The Richard Smith who is identified by Ashton as the Messenger in Mortimer’s painting of a scene from “King John” (G0059) was probably the actor of that name who is noticed in the BDA (14: 155-57). He appeared regularly as a utility actor (often ‘a walking gentleman’) at the Haymarket and Covent Garden in the 1760s and 1770s. The BDA reproduces the picture and states that the figure on the right is Robert Bensley as Hubert, and the figure left with right arm extended is William Smith as the Bastard. Ashton calls that latter figure Robert Bensley as Hubert. Valentine’s engraving does not solve the matter, as it identifies only two of the three figures: Bensley as Hubert (presumably on the left) and Powell as King John (center). The figure on the right is not captioned.
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