22 October 2013

Catherine Clive in Twickenham

Catherine (or Kitty) Clive (1711–1785) enjoyed a very successful acting career. In 1769 she retired to Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, where Horace Walpole provided a house for her.
'Sacred to the Memory of
Who died December the 7th 1785
æt 75 years.
Clive’s blameless life this tablet shall proclaim,
Her moral virtues and her well-earn’d fame.
In comic scenes the stage she early trod,
“Nor sought the critic’s praise nor fear’d his rod”
In real life was equal praise her due,
Open to pity and to friendship true;
In wit still pleasing, as in converse free,
From aught that could afflict humanity;
Her generous heart to all her friends was known;
And e‘en the stranger’s sorrows were her own.
Content with fame e’er affluence she wav’d,
To share with others what by toil she sav’d;
And nobly bounteous, from her slender store
She bade two dear relations not be poor.
Such deed's [sic] on life’s short scenes true glory shed
And heav’nly plaudits hail the virtuous dead.'

She was buried in St Marys Church, Twickenham. The plaque on the church wall was paid for, and the poem written by, her long-term friend Jane Pope (whose adult début was with Kitty Clive in Sir John Vanbrugh's The Confederacy).

I give a link below to a biography of Clive by Percy Fitzgerald, who is bitchy about both the (perceived) low cost of the memorial and of the quality of Jane Pope's verse.

Percy Fitzgerald: The Life of Mrs Catherine Clive (1888)

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