Marshall, Francis Albert (DNB00)

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MARSHALL, FRANCIS ALBERT (1840–1889), dramatist, born in London in November 1840, was fifth son of William Marshall of Patterdale Hall and Hallstead, Westmoreland. The father, born 26 May 1796, was M.P. for Carlisle 1835–47, for East Cumberland 1847–65, and died in 1872, having married, 17 June 1828, Georgiana Christiana, seventh daughter of George Hibbert of Munden, Hertfordshire.

Francis was educated at Harrow, and matriculated from Exeter College, Oxford, on 14 June 1859, but did not take a degree. He was for some years a clerk in the audit office in Somerset House, but soon began contributing to newspapers and periodicals, and in 1868 resigned his appointment. He had already made some reputation as a playwright, and soon afterwards became dramatic critic to the ‘London Figaro.’ The titles of his plays were: 1. ‘Mad as a Hatter,’ a farce produced at the Royalty Theatre, 7 Dec. 1863. 2. ‘Corrupt Practices,’ a drama in two acts, Lyceum Theatre, 22 Jan. 1870. 3. ‘Q. E. D., or All a Mistake,’ a comedietta, Court Theatre, 25 Jan. 1871. 4. ‘False Shame,’ a comedy in three acts, Globe Theatre, 4 Nov. 1872. 5. ‘Brighton,’ a comedy in four acts, founded on Bronson Howard's ‘Saratoga,’ Court Theatre, 25 May 1874. 6. ‘Biohn,’ a romantic opera in five acts, with music by Lauro Rossi, Queen's Theatre, 17 Jan. 1877, in which his wife, Mrs. Fitzinman Marshall, appeared as Elfrida, and was a failure. 7. ‘Family Honours,’ a comedy in three acts, Aquarium Theatre, 18 May 1878. 8. ‘Lola, or the Belle of Baccarato,’ a comic opera, with music by Antonio Orsini, Olympic Theatre, 15 Jan. 1881. With W. G. Wills he produced ‘Cora,’ a drama in three acts, Globe Theatre, 28 Feb. 1877. For his friend Henry Irving he wrote two pieces, a drama in four acts, founded on the history of Robert Emmet, and a version of ‘Werner,’ altered and adapted for the stage. The latter was produced at the Lyceum Theatre on the occasion of the benefit given to Westland Marston [q. v.] by Henry Irving on 1 June 1887. Marshall's ‘Robert Emmet’ has not been put on the stage. During his last years he edited, with the assistance of many competent scholars, a new edition of the works of Shakespeare, called ‘The Henry Irving Edition.’ (Sir) Henry Irving contributed an introduction. Marshall was a genial companion, and collected a valuable library. He died, after some years of declining health, at 8 Bloomsbury Square, London, 28 Dec. 1889.

His first wife died on 19 Feb. 1885; and he married secondly, on 2 May 1885, Miss Ada Cavendish, the well-known actress.

Marshall printed: 1. ‘A Study of Hamlet,’ 1875. 2. ‘Henry Irving, Actor and Manager, by an Irvingite,’ 1883. 3. ‘L. S. D.,’ an unfinished novel, brought out in the ‘Britannia Magazine.’

[Times, 30 Dec. 1889, p. 6; London Figaro, 4 Jan. 1890, p. 12, with portrait; Illustrated London News, 18 Jan. 1890, p. 70, with portrait; Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 18 Jan. 1890, p. 556, with portrait; Era, 4 Jan. 1890, p. 8.]

G. C. B.