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Robert William Elliston Edit Profile

actor , artist , performer

Robert William Elliston was an English actor and theatre manager. He was successful not only as a comic and tragic artist, but also as a lessee and manager of the theatre.


Robert William Elliston was born in London on the 7th of April 1774. He was the son of a watchmaker.


He was educated at St Paul's school.


During his education he ran away from home and made his first appearance on the stage as Tressel in Richard III at Bath in 1791.

Here he was later seen as Romeo, and in other leading parts, both comic and tragic, and he repeated his successes in London from 1796.

He acted at Drury Lane from 1804 to 1809, and again from 1812; and from 1819 he was the lessee of the house, presenting Kean, Mme Vestris and Macready.

Ill-health and misfortune culminated in his bankruptcy in 1826, when he made his last appearance at Drury Lane as Falstaff. But as lessee of the Surrey theatre he acted almost up to his death, which was hastened by intemperance.

Leigh Hunt compared him favourably with Garrick; Byron thought him inimitable in high comedy; Macready praised his versatility.

Elliston was the author of The Venetian Outlaw (1805), and, with Francis Godolphin Waldron, of No Prelude (1803), in both of which plays he appeared.


  • He was a talented actor who received leading roles in many plays.