Dear Mr George

                      Pray oblige me by your acceptance

of the enclosed Admission to my Readings

                                   Most truly yours,

                                        C. Kemble

19 South Audley Street

13th May 1844


Charles Kemble (1775 – 1854) was born into a family of actors at Brecon, South Wales, and was a younger brother of John Philip Kemble, Stephen Kemble and Sarah Siddons. Like John Philip, he was educated at Douai. After returning to England in 1792, he obtained a job in the post office, but soon resigned to go on the stage, making his first recorded appearance at Sheffield as Orlando in As You Like It in that year. During the early part of his career as an actor he slowly gained popularity. For a considerable time he played with his brother and sister, chiefly in secondary parts, and received little attention.

His first London appearance was in 1794, as Malcolm to his brother's Macbeth. Ultimately he won independent fame. His Laërtes and Macduff were as accomplished as his brother's Hamlet and Macbeth. His production of Cymbeline in 1827 inaugurated the trend to historical accuracy in stagings of that play that reached a peak with Henry Irving at the turn of the century.

In comedy he was ably supported by his wife, Marie Therese De Camp, whom he married on July 2, 1806. His visit, with his daughter Fanny, to America during 1832 and 1834, aroused much enthusiasm. The later part of his career was beset by money troubles in connection with his joint proprietorship of Covent Garden theatre. He formally retired from the stage in December 1836, but his final appearance was on April 10, 1840. For some time he held the office of examiner of plays. In 1844-1845 he gave readings from Shakespeare at Willis's Rooms (after 13th May, clearly). Macready regarded his Cassio as incomparable, and summed him up as "a first-rate actor of second-rate parts."

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