Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion,
Boston, Saturday, September 27, 1851
Anna C. Mowatt
actress, whose late return from Europe, after her husband’s death, but with
more professional skill, has attracted much attention among theatre-goers. The
style in which our artist has presented her here, is as she appears in the
character of Lucia di Lammermoor. By her
friends, it is considered the best engraving, as it regards a likeness, yet
published of her. At the age of fifteen, Mrs. Mowatt became the wife of Mr.
James Mowatt, a barrister, of New York city.
The home of the happy couple was at a beautiful villa on Long Island,
and it at once became the resort of the literati of New York. As early as the first year of her marriage,
Mrs. Mowatt published two volumes of original poems.
In the year 1841, on account of ill health,
she visited Europe in company with her husband passing about two years in
France and Germany, much improving her health, and finding time to write one or
two dramatic works for private circulation.
In the meantime, her husband, by some constitutional weakness, nearly
lost the use of his eyes; and, on their return to America, was obliged to give
up his profession entirely, and embark his fortune in business. But few men how have lived professional
lives, and who have pursued that course of life in early years which is
designed to fit them for such a career, have sufficient tact to adapt
themselves to mercantile occupation and business pursuits.
The consequence of Mr. Mowatt’s commercial
speculations was, that he lost all and failed.
It was then that his good angel stepped forward to rescue him from
despair. His wife – who had from
childhood seemed to be a favorite of genius, in spite of the diffidence that
naturally rose up in her sensitive breast – resolved, by a public exhibition of
those rare qualities which Heaven has granted her, to resuscitate his fallen
This is the story of Mrs.
Mowatt’s professional career. While in
Paris, she was a frequent student of Rachel’s classical and severe style of
acting. While here, Mrs. Mowatt also
wrote a five-act play, entitled “Gulzara,” of which the critics speak very
highly. In 1845, Mrs. Mowatt wrote a
comedy entitled, “Fashion,” which was performed at the Park Theatre, New York,
several nights with greater success than had attended any other American
comedy. In June, 1845, Mrs. Mowatt made
her debut on the stage at the Park Theatre, as Pauline, in the “Lady of Lyons;”
and, says the New York critic, “we doubt if ever debutante met with success so
brilliant and unequivocal.”
Her Juliana, Juliet, Mariana, and Lucy Ashton are beautiful and chaste in the extreme. In her own play of “Armand,” she has perhaps, made a deeper impression as an actress and a lady of decided talent. But it is not only as an actress and an authoress of merit that we are to admire Mrs. Mowatt; in her private relations and fireside life, she shines with similar brilliancy. During Mrs. Mowatt’s engagement in this city, her audiences have been of the most select and discriminating character; and yet the Howard has been nightly filled to its utmost capacity. Never has she performed with more spirit or success, and never has she appeared to more advantage since the commencement of her professional career.
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