1675-1754; went to London as actor; wrote The Quacks, or Love the Physician
(1705); became asst. mgr. of Drury Lane under Rich, 1706; leased Queens
Th., Haymarket, 1707, and produced Farquhars The Beaux
Stratagem  with Anne Oldfield as Mrs Sullen, entering conflict
with Lord Chamberlain inspired by animosity of Rich; reduced to playing
operas; such as his own Camilla (1707); formed partnership with
Colley Cibber and Thomas Doggett and hired Nicoliani to sing, making a
second sons fortune; mounted some plays incl. his own
tragedy Pyrrhus and Demetrius (1709), but again reduced to opera
Cibbers leaving to take up the management of Drury Lane, 1709, bankrupt;
travelled to Venice and then France; returned in 1735; reconciled with
Cibber; received benefit performance; replaced Charles Coffey as friend
of Peg Woffington and regularily acted as her escort; suffered failing
health in 1755, and moved to Bath, where he died; left his estate to Peg
Woffington; there is a portrait by Owen MSwiney, by I. B. Van Loo,
and another by by Peter Van Bleek (1737). ODNB PI DIW OCTH OCIL.
Jane Dunbar, Peg Woffington and Her World (1968), MSwiny
Irish, n. Wexford, asst. mgr. under Christopher Rich at DL; partnership
with Wilks, [Colley] Cibber, and Doggett; in 1712 he went abroad after
unwise speculation, making himself at home in several continental capitals;
his friends found him unchanged [one the wrong side of three score,
he has yet the open spirit of a hale young Fellow of five and twenty [...].
Time has not yet been able to make a visible Change in any Part of him,
but the Colour of his hair, from a fierce coal black to that of a milder
milk-white]; renewed friendship with Cibber; formed friendship with
Peg Woffington, taking the place of Charles Coffey; remained devoted,
but forgotten in her involvement with Garrick [64-66]; involved in brawl
with Clives brother Raftor ; sophisticated, fine grooming,
perfect escort ; failing health, and waters at Bath, in 1755 ;
legacy to Peg, 1756 .
Dictionary of National Biography, lists Swiney see
Swinny, Owen Mac; gives bio-data: d.1754, playwright, mgr. Queens
Th., Haymarket, London, 1706, 1710, 1711; bankrupt after some successes;
refuged abroad; returned 1735.
Oxford Companion to the
Theatre (ed. Hartnoll), gives details: Irish actor and mgr at Drury
Lane, right-hand man to Christopher Rich, c. 1700; joined Colley [Cibber],
1705, leasing Vanbrughs Haymarket, where he produced Farquhars The Beaux Stratagem  with Anne Oldfield as Mrs Sullen;
incurred conflict with licencing laws through it; forbidden to produced
plays, he staved off ruin by putting on popular opera; went to Venice
in 1710 after unsuccessful partnership with Wilks, Doggett, and Cibber;
returned 1730, calling himself MacSwiney; friend and patron of Peg Woffington,
to whom he imparted the tradition of Anne Oldfield; left Peg all his property.
Note that these details and dates conflict versions given in the ODNB and
Jane Dunbar (Peg Woffington, 1968), and also with the evidence from the
dating of the plays.
Owen MSwiney, by IB Van Loo [seated with book; bearded and flowing
hair], engraved by John Faber 1735 [ODNB], held in Harvard coll., ill.
in Jane Dunbar, Peg Woffington and Her World (1968); also by Peter
Van Bleek (1737), engraved from life [ODNB].
Swiney actually led Peg Woffington
to London, and accompanied her later to Paris, acting as intermediary
in some of her negotiations with David Garrick. See Jane Dunbar, Peg