6 Annotations

First Reading

Michael Robinson  •  Link

per L&M companion:-

Actor in the Duke's Company from 1661, and later in the United Company. A friend of Pepys. An accomplished and versatile performer, his last performance was in 1681.

nix  •  Link

According to the Oxford DNB, Harris (1633/4 - 1704) also was a prominent engraver of seals for the king and various nobles (including Arlington), offices and colonies, and in 1690 became chief engraver for the mint.

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The article notes that his acting career had not been mentioned in Harris's listing in the original DNB (1891) , but quotes documentation that clearly identifies Harris the engraver and Harris the actor as the same man.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Interesting, familiar dates. Almost SP's exact contemporary.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

[There appears to be one than one applicant for the role of Pepy’s Harris]

Joseph Harris, a celebrated actor, who first appeared at the Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, in 1662. He probably died, or left the stage about 1676. That the Christian name of the actor at Davenant’s house, and the friend of Pepys, was Joseph, rests on the supposition that he was the Joseph Harris author of several plays produced in the reign of William III., and an actor also. If Pepys’s Harris and the dramatic poet were identical, he lived into Queen Anne's reign. It seems more probable that they were different persons, and that Pepys’s friend was named Henry. There is a mezzotint of Joseph Harris, in the character of Cardinal Wolsey, in the Pepysian Library at Cambridge; only one other impression of this print is known to exist, which belongs to Mr. George Daniel, of Canonbury.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

HARRIS, JOSEPH (?)(fl. 1661-1681), actor; played in Sir William D'Avenant's company at Lincoln's Inn Fields and Dorset Garden; Romeo to Betterton's Mercutio, 1662; took original roles in plays by D'Avenant, Dryden, Etherege, and Otway; intimate with Pepys.

HARRIS, JOSEPH (fl. 1661-1702), actor and dramatist; member of king's company at Theatre Royal; engraver to the mint on accession of Anne; four plays ascribed to him.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Joseph Harris as Cardinal Wolsey [at the Victoria and Albert Museum]

Joseph [i.e. Henry] Harris [as Wolsey in Shakespeare's King Henry VIII] [graphic] / Dawe, sculpt.

Bill  •  Link

There has been some doubt as to the Christian name of this actor, but Mr. R.W. Lowe proves conclusively that it was Henry, and not Joseph ("Thomas Betterton," p. 72). "Henry Harris, of the city of London, painter," was one of the contracting parties in the agreement for Davenant's Company of November 5th, 1660. He left the company, and expected to be eagerly sought after by Killigrew, but the king prevented his attaching himself to the other house, and he had in the end to rejoin Davenant's company. He acted Romeo when Betterton took Mercutio. This, as Mr. Lowe remarks, seems strange, considering that Pepys says Harris was "a more ayery man" than Betterton. One would expect the "airy" man to take the character of Mercutio. Mr. Lowe supposes that Harris died or retired about 1682.
---Wheatley, 1893.

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