Sandford, Samuel (DNB00)
SANDFORD, SAMUEL (fl. 1699), actor, of the family of Sandford of Sandford in Shropshire, joined D'Avenant's company at Lincoln's Inn Fields about a year after its formation, and was, on 16 Dec. 1661, the original Worm in Cowley's ‘Cutter of Coleman Street.’ On 1 March 1662 he was Sampson in ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ and on 20 Oct. Maligni (the villain) in Porter's ‘Villain.’ Early in January 1663 he was Ernesto in Tuke's ‘Adventures of Five Hours,’ and on 28 May Vindex in Sir R. Stapleton's ‘Slighted Maid.’ During the same season he was Sylvanus in the ‘Stepmother,’ also by Stapleton, and in 1664 was Wheadle in Etherege's ‘Comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub,’ and Provost in the ‘Rivals,’ D'Avenant's alteration of the ‘Two Noble Kinsmen.’
After the cessation of performances on account of the plague, Sandford is not to be traced until 26 March 1668, when he and Harris sang, as two ballad singers, the epilogue to D'Avenant's ‘Man's the Master.’ After the death of D'Avenant, Sandford was, in 1669, Wary in ‘Sir Solomon, or the Cautious Coxcomb,’ taken by Caryl, in part, from Molière's ‘École des Femmes.’ In 1671 he was Toxaris in Edward Howard's ‘Women's Conquest,’ Justice Frump in Revet's ‘Town Shifts, or the Suburb Justice,’ and Cassonofsky in Crowne's ‘Juliana, or the Princess of Poland.’ After the migration of the company under Lady D'Avenant to the new house at Dorset Garden, Sandford was Trivultio in Crowne's ‘Charles VIII, or the Invasion of Naples by the French,’ the first novelty produced at the house; Cureal in Ravenscroft's ‘Citizen turned Gentleman, or Mamamouchi,’ taken from ‘Monsieur de Pourceaugnac’ and ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme,’ and either Sir Timothy or Trick in the Earl of Orrery's ‘Mr. Anthony.’ In 1672 he was Camillo in Arrowsmith's ‘Reformation,’ Jasper in Nevil Payne's ‘Fatal Jealousy,’ and Ghost of Banquo in D'Avenant's operatic rendering of ‘Macbeth.’ He played, in 1674, Lycungus in Settle's ‘Conquest of China by the Tartars;’ in 1675 Tissaphernes in Otway's ‘Alcibiades;’ in 1676 Sir Roger Petulant (‘a jolly old knight’) in D'Urfey's ‘Fond Husband, or the Plotting Sisters,’ and Sir Arthur Oldlove in D'Urfey's ‘Madame Fickle, or the Witty False One;’ in 1677 Thrifty in Otway's ‘Cheats of Scapin,’ Photinus in Sedley's ‘Antony and Cleopatra,’ Sylvanus in the ‘Constant Nymph;’ in 1678 Priamus in Bankes's ‘Destruction of Troy,’ Colonel Buff in D'Urfey's ‘Squire Oldsapp, or the Night Adventurers,’ Nicias in ‘Timon of Athens,’ altered by Shadwell; and in 1679 Creon in ‘Œdipus,’ by Dryden and Lee. Playing with George Powell [q. v.] in this play, Sandford, who had been by mistake supplied with a real dagger instead of the trick dagger ordered, stabbed him, it is said, so seriously as to endanger his life. Nothing more is heard of Sandford until the junction of the two companies in 1682, when he played, at the Theatre Royal, one of the Sheriffs in Dryden and Lee's ‘Duke of Guise.’ His name is not again traceable until 1688, when, at the same house, it appears as Cheatly in Shadwell's ‘Squire of Alsatia,’ and Colonel in Mountfort's ‘Injured Lovers.’ In 1689 he played Sir Thomas Credulous in Crowne's ‘English Friar;’ in 1690 Benducar in Dryden's ‘Don Sebastian, King of Portugal,’ Dareing in ‘Widow Ranter, or the History of Bacon in Virginia,’ by Mrs. Behn, and Gripus in Dryden's ‘Amphitryon.’ To 1691 belong Rugildas in Settle's ‘Distressed Innocence,’ the Earl of Exeter in Mountfort's ‘King Edward III, with the Fall of Mortimer,’ Count Verole in Southerne's ‘Sir Anthony Love,’ Osmond in Dryden's ‘King Arthur,’ and Sir Arthur Clare in the ‘Merry Devil of Edmonton;’ to 1692 Sir Lawrence Limber in D'Urfey's ‘Marriage Hater Matched,’ Hamilcar in Crowne's ‘Regulus,’ Sosybius (sic) in Dryden's ‘Cleomenes,’ the Abbot in ‘Henry II, King of England,’ assigned to Bancroft and also to Mountfort. In 1693 Sandford was Dr. Guiacum in D'Urfey's ‘Richmond Heiress.’
When, in 1695, Betterton and his associates seceded to the new theatre at Lincoln's Inn Fields, Sandford refused to join as a sharer, but at a salary of 3l. acted with them, creating Foresight in Congreve's ‘Love for Love.’ In 1697 he was Caska (sic) in Hopkins's ‘Boadicea,’ Gonsalez in Congreve's ‘Mourning Bride,’ and in 1698 Ulysses in Granville's ‘Heroic Love.’ With one or two unimportant exceptions these characters are all original. The year of production is in some cases conjectural.
Sandford seems to have left the stage in 1699 or 1700. As Downes speaks of Betterton and Underhill as being ‘the only remains of the Duke of York's servants from 1662 till the union in October 1706,’ it has been assumed that Sandford was then dead. Cibber seems to imply that he was dead in 1704–5.
Sandford is said to have prided himself upon his birth, and to have been subjected to some ridicule in consequence. Cibber speaks highly of his performances in tragedy, and says that when, in 1690, he joined the company at the Theatre Royal, Sandford was one of the principal actors. The same authority calls him ‘the Spagnolet, an excellent actor in disagreeable characters; for as the chief pieces of that famous painter were of human nature in pain and agony, so Sandford upon the stage was generally as flagitious as a Creon, a Maligni, an Iago, or a Machiavel could make him’ (Apology, ed. Lowe, i. 130–1). To his possession of a low and crooked person the selection of him for such parts is attributed. Cibber repeats a story told him by Mountfort, how in a new piece, in which Sandford played an honest statesman, the pit sat through four acts, waiting for the actor to show the cloven hoof; but finding that Sandford remained to the end an honest man, they damned the piece, ‘as if the author had imposed upon them the most frontless or incredible absurdity’ (pp. 132–3). Nevertheless, from his selection for Foresight, he would seem to have had some gifts for comedy. Sandford had an acute and piercing tone of voice and very distinct articulation. He was an adept in giving point to what seemed worthy of note, and slurred over as much as possible the rhyme in Dryden's tragedies. Cibber held that he would have made an ideal Richard III, and he avowedly modelled his performances on what he thought Sandford would have done. Tony Aston, in his ‘Brief Supplement,’ describes Sandford as round-shouldered, meagre-faced, spindle-shanked, splay-footed, with a sour countenance, and long thin arms; credits him with soundness of art and judgment; says that he acted strongly with his face, and adds that Charles II called him the best villain in the world.
Steele, in the ‘Tatler’ (No. 134), speaks of Sandford on the stage ‘groaning upon a wheel, stuck with daggers, impaled alive, calling his executioners, with a dying voice, cruel dogs and villains; and all this to please his judicious spectators, who were wonderfully delighted with seeing a man in torment so well acted.’[Genest's Account of the English Stage; Cibber's Apology, ed. Lowe; Doran's Annals of the Stage, ed. Lowe; Tony Aston's Brief Supplement; Dibdin's Hist. of the Stage; Downes's Roscius Anglicanus, ed. 1886.]