[Mrs.] Dorothy Jordan (1761-1816)
[also Dorothea; née Bland;] b. 22 Nov. 1761, nr. Waterford; dg. of the actress Grace Phillips [Mrs. Frances] and a certain Bland, prob. a stagehand; trained by Robert Owenson who prevented her marrying an Irishman; first appeared in Dublin as Phoebe in As You Like It (1777) [var. 1779], as Miss Francis; appeared as Mrs. Jordan in Fair Penitent (Leeds 1782), in the role of Calista; debut at Drury Lane in a play by Garrick, 1785; painted as the Muse of comedy by John Hoeppner, and exhibited at the RA, 1786;
played Lady Teazle in Sheridans School of Scandal, her finest role; much praised by Hazlitt, Lamb, Leigh Hunt; met the Duke of Clarence in 1790, to whom she bore ten children, along with three illegitimate children by other men (one by Richard Daly); reputedly answered the Dukes proposal to reduce her stipend with no money returned after the rising of the curtain; died in France, where she retired in the year of her final appearance at Margate, in 1815; d. 3 July, Saint-Cloud, France. OCEL DIB
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Claire Tomalin, Mrs Jordans Profession, The Story of a Great Actress and a Future King (Viking 1994), 413pp.
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Times Literary Supplement (21, Oct. 1994), contains a review of Claire Tomalin, Mrs Jordans Profession: The Story of a Great Actress and a Future King (Viking 1994), with comments as above; further, John Hoppner depicted her at the Academy as the Muse of Comedy in 1786, just two years after Reynolds had shown Siddon there in the role of tragedy; Coleridge named her as the best verse-speaker he had ever heard; Charles Lamb and Leigh Hunt led the romantic chorus; her face, her tears, her manners were irresistable. Her smile had the effect of sunshine, and her laugh did one good to hear it (Hazlitt); her speciality lay in breeches parts such as Sir Harry Wildair [inaugurated as such by Woffington]; accaimed Rosamund and Viola; decamped to France; brought up ten children of the Duke. See also near simultaneous review in Spectator]
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The Epilogue to R. B. Sheridans Pizarro was written by William Lamb and spoken by Mrs. Jordan (see Cecil Price, ed., Plays of Sheridan, 1975 edn.).