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date: 23 September 2019

Cartwright, Williamlocked

(bapt London, Jan 1, 1606; d London, Dec 17, 1686).
  • Giles Waterfield

Extract

(bapt London, Jan 1, 1606; d London, Dec 17, 1686).

English actor and collector. He was the son of an actor who was a friend of Edward Alleyn, founder of Dulwich College. He was himself first recorded on the stage in Norwich in 1635, but when the theatres closed down during the Commonwealth period he seems to have made his living as a bookseller in London. In 1658 he apparently published Actor’s Vindication, a version of Thomas Heywood’s Apology for Actors. With the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 he returned to the stage as a member of the refounded King’s Company, in which he played a prominent part as both actor and shareholder.

Cartwright was a keen collector, especially of pictures, and he bequeathed to Dulwich College his collection of 239 paintings, together with an inventory in his own hand. Only about 75 of these paintings survive in Dulwich Picture Gallery, the remainder having been stolen by his servants or subsequently lost. They constitute a remarkably important survival, from a late 17th-century collection made by a person of adequate but not great means. The surviving pictures include works by ...

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Dictionary of National Biography, 63 vols and suppls (London, 1885–)