Henry Mossop

Henry Mossop, the distinguished actor was born in Dunmore in 1729. His father, rector of the parish was a famous mathematician. While studying at Trinity College, Dublin, Henry Mossop was attracted to the stage by Garrick's acting and showed remarkable promise. After acting for a time in Dublin he quarrelled with his manager and went to London where he appeared as "Richard III". His style of acting strongly resembled that of Kean of the middle of the last century. It was vivid, subtle, and forcible but marred by an abruptness of delivery and irregularity of performance. Believing that his talents were as unlimited as his ambition, he grasped at all the leading characters without discrimination, and played many of them without effect. Leaving Drury Lane in disgust he returned to Dublin, declaring that "there should be but on theatre in Ireland and that he would be at the head of it". Refusing a salary of 1,000 from Barry and Woodward at Crow Street Theatre, "he spurned every kindness and emolument submitted to his acceptance and consideration". In November, 1760 he took a lease of Smock Alley Theatre at 100 a year rent. In 1767 he took over Crow Street Theatre to prevent further rivalry, and for three years played by turns in each. At Crow Street he acted tragedies and at Smock Alley he played comedies and light entertainment. After twelve years as actor-manager in Dublin he became bankrupt and fled to London in 1772, broken in health and spirits. He died with one halfpenny in his pocket, in a mean lodging at Chelsea in November 1773, at the age of 43.

Kavanagh in his Irish Theatre records that Dublin companies visited Cork and in later years the audience of that city often showed "proofs of their resentment" and on one occasion (1769) a member of the audience fought a duel on the stage with Mossop the manager, when he would not accede to his request. His critics said of him that while admitting many faults of his acting "Garrick and Barry only were his superiors; in parts of vehemence and rage he was almost unequalled and in sentimental gravity, from the power of his voice and the justness of his conceptions, he was a very commanding speaker".

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