Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 52.djvu/184

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Antony Withers in Cumberland's ‘Summer's Tale’ on 6 Dec., Mr. Belmont in Mrs. Griffiths's ‘Double Mistake’ on 9 Jan. 1766, Oldcastle in ‘School for Guardians’ on 10 Jan. 1767, and Guzman in Thomas Hull's ‘Perplexities’ on 31 Jan. At the Haymarket, where in June 1765 he had played Gruel and Mrs. Loveit in Foote's ‘Commissary,’ he was on 2 July the first Abrahamides in the mock tragedy the ‘Tailors.’ At the famous first performance of the ‘Good-natured Man’ at Covent Garden on 29 Jan. 1768 he was the original Croaker. On 25 Feb. he was Colonel Oldboy in ‘Lionel and Clarissa;’ on 14 Jan. 1769 he was the first Western in Joseph Reed's adaptation ‘Tom Jones,’ and on 7 Oct. Cross in Colman's ‘Man and Wife;’ on 9 Feb. 1772 Governor Anderson in ‘Wife in the Right,’ by Mrs. Griffiths. In ‘She stoops to conquer’ on 15 March 1773 Shuter was the original Hardcastle; in Kenrick's ‘Duellist’ on 20 Oct. he was Sir Solomon Bauble, and in Colman's ‘Man of Business’ on 31 Jan. 1774 Golding. On 2 Dec., in Kelly's ‘Romance of an Hour,’ he was Sir Hector Strangeways. On 17 Jan. 1775 he played his last and greatest original part, Sir Anthony Absolute in the ‘Rivals.’ On 10 May 1776, for his benefit, he made what appears to have been his last appearance as Falstaff in the ‘First Part of King Henry IV.’ The season closed on 1 June, and on 1 Nov. following Shuter died. He was buried in St. Paul's, Covent Garden.

Garrick is reported to have pronounced Shuter the greatest comic genius he had ever seen, and in his best parts, such as the Miser, Falstaff, Grub, Justice Woodcock, and Master Stephen, he was almost beyond praise. Charles Dibdin says of his Corbaccio that acting never went beyond it, and that nothing on earth could surpass his Midas. The writer of ‘Theatrical Biography’ (1772), who was intimate with him, speaks of him as greatly indebted to nature, and continues: ‘With strong features, a peculiar turn of countenance and natural passion for humour, he has the happiness of disposing and altering the muscles of his face into a variety of laughable shapes, which, though they may border on grimace, are, however, on the whole irresistible’ (ii. 43). On the other hand he was unequal and very indolent. He often left out portions of his part, and Churchill taxed him with reckless ‘gagging.’ Though his voice lacked variety, it was capable of very comic inflection, and he had a happy knack in singing. In his late years he was not a shadow of himself. He became a devoted follower of Whitefield, and a liberal contributor to the ‘Tabernacle.’ He also took to the bottle and to gambling. To his efforts after ‘grace’ rather than to his drinking Tate Wilkinson attributes his decadence.

Shuter had the reputation of a wit, and often said things beyond the reach of his companions. At the same time he could only just write an ‘order’ to the theatre, and could with difficulty read his part. Many stories survive concerning him. When asked to be comical in mixed company, he said ‘Egad, I forgot my fool's dress. I'll go and fetch it,’ leaving the company, never to return. Chidden for having holes in his stockings, he said he would rather have twenty holes than one darn, adding ‘A hole is the accident of a day, but a darn is premeditated poverty.’ Travelling in the north of England, he found a pistol held to his head with a demand for his money or his life. ‘Money!’ said Shuter with an idiotic shrug; ‘oh Lud, sir! they never trust me with any, for Nuncle here,’ pointing to a stranger counterfeiting sleep, ‘always pays for me, turnpikes and all, your honour.’ Cursing the wag, the highwayman awoke the pretended slumberer, taking every shilling he had in his pocket, while Shuter lost nothing.

His portrait as Scapin is in the Mathews collection in the Garrick Club; another portrait by Zoffany was engraved by Finlayson.

[Books cited; Genest's Account of the English Stage; Doran's Annals of the Stage, ed. Lowe; Davies's Dramatick Miscellanies; Clark Russell's Representative Actors; Dibdin's History of the Stage; Boaden's Memoirs of Mrs. Siddons, and Life of Mrs. Jordan; O'Keeffe's Recollections; Garrick Correspondence; Dramatic Mirror; Thespian Dict.; Georgian Era; ‘The Dramatic History of Master Edward, Miss Ann, Mr. Llwhuddwhydd, and others, the extraordinaries of these times. Collected from Zaphaniel's original papers, illustrated with copper-plates, London, 1743’ [should be 1763], 12mo, a scarce work by G. A. Stevens [q. v.], in feeble imitation of Sterne's style, was aimed particularly at Shuter and Nancy Dawson; it was several times reprinted (Brit. Mus. Cat. 1785 and 1786).]

J. K.

SHUTTLEWOOD, JOHN (1632–1689), nonconformist tutor, was born at Wymeswold, Leicestershire, on 3 Jan. 1631–2. He was educated at a grammar school, and, having been approved by the Wirksworth classis, was ordained on 26 April 1654 as minister of Ravenstone, Leicestershire, a rectory which he seems to have held with the perpetual curacy of Hugglescote, being ejected from both in 1662. He removed to the borders of Northamptonshire, and became a persistent preacher at conventicles in both counties, changing his residence several times