MOLLOY, J. Fitzgerald. Days of the Dandies: Peg Woffington. [LIMITED TO 100 COPIES IN DE LUXE LIMITED EDITION IN FINE BINDING]


1 in stock

Two volumes. Dedicated to Miss Ellen Terry. London: The Grolier Society, n.d. [c.1900]. Octavo. pp. (1) xii, [ii], 312 (2) ix, [iii], 304. Title printed in red and black within triple ruled border. Edition limited to 100 copies [This is No. 7]. Bound in full straight-grained levant morocco. Covers framed by triple gilt fillets, gilt floral decoration to corners with a red and white rose onlay to each against a dotted background. Spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title and author in gilt direct in the second and third, the remainder with alternating onlay red and white rose within a triple gilt border; board edges ruled in gilt; elaborate gilt decorated wide doublures enclosing a white morocco onlay with publisher’s armorial shield at centre; moiré silk and marbled endpapers; blue and white endbands. Top edge gilt, others untrimmed. A fine set.
Peg Woffington (c. 1714-1760) Irish actress, one of the outstanding theatrical personalities of her time. Woffington became a street singer to support her mother and sister and made her stage debut at 10 as Polly Peachum in a juvenile production of John Gay’s ‘The Beggar’s Opera’. In 1732 she first performed in London in the role of Macheath in the same play. Her professional career actually was launched in 1737 with her success as Ophelia in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet; by 1740 she was Dublin’s leading actress, and her Sylvia in George Farquhar’s Recruiting Officer and her Sir Harry Wildair in the same author’s The Constant Couple - her most famous “breeches part” - made her Dublin’s darling. London audiences were equally enthusiastic when, in November 1740, she appeared in the same parts at Covent Garden. Woffington could now command theatres, parts, and lovers; and at Drury Lane (1740-46) she gained new fame in parts ranging from Sir John Vanbrugh’s Lady Brute and Clarissa to Shakespeare’s Rosalind and Mistress Ford. In 1742 she acted in Dublin with David Garrick, who was until 1745 the most important man in her life. But Garrick wanted her to play, as leading lady and wife, under his direction, and Woffington could never long adapt herself to his or any other man’s ideal. At Covent Garden (1747-50) she revealed Garrick’s influence in tragic parts, and in Dublin (1750-54) she enjoyed social as well as professional triumph. The only woman member of the Beefsteak Club, she was praised for an “understanding rare in females.”
At Covent Garden (1754-57) she revived old parts, created new ones, and made new friends, among them the statesman Edmund Burke, who is thought to have been one of her many lovers. In this, as in much else, tradition exaggerates: though connected by rumour with many men, she is only known to have had four lovers. In 1756 her illness began to be visible, and in 1757, during a performance of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, she collapsed during Rosalind’s epilogue at the line “I would kiss as many . . . ,” after which she retired from the stage.
Joseph Fitzgerald Molloy (1858-1908), author, was a native of New Ross, County Wexford, son of Pierce Molloy and Catherine Molloy (née Byrne). Educated at St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, he intended to join the catholic clergy. At the age of twenty he decided instead on a literary career and departed Wexford for London, provided with a letter of introduction to the great Irish Victorian periodical publisher Samuel Carter Hall. He worked first on Hall’s ‘Art Journal’ before becoming private secretary to Sir Charles Gavan Duffy. Duffy obtained a clerkship for Molloy in 1878, which he held for four years, in the London office of the agent-general for New Zealand. A first book of poetry, Songs of passion and pain (1881), was published under the pseudonym ‘Ernest Wilding’. He meanwhile entered London literary society and entertained Oscar Wilde and G. B. Shaw on one of the few occasions that the two actually met.

[L1 6A]


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

Book an Appointment

You are welcome to visit and meet us in person to browse our extensive libraries of antiquarian books, maps, and other items relating to Ireland.

De Burca Rare Books


De Búrca Rare Books,
27 Priory Drive, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin,
A94 V406,

T. +353 (0) 1 288 2159
F. +353 (0) 1 283 4080
M. +353 (0) 87 259 5918

Office Hours

Monday to Friday
9:00am to 5:30pm

10:00am to 1:00pm.

An appointment is preferred.


Welcome to De Búrca Rare Books


Stay Updated & Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive news from the Irish antiquarian book world and get updates on our latest catalogues and publications.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

No products in the cart