1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Clive, Catherine
CLIVE, CATHERINE [Kitty] (1711–1785), British actress, was born, probably in London, in 1711. Her father, William Raftor, an Irishman of good family but small means, had held a captain’s commission in the French army under Louis XIV. From her earliest years she showed a talent for the stage, and about 1728 became a member of the company at Drury Lane, of which Colley Cibber was then manager. Her first part was that of the page Ismenes (“with a song”) in the tragedy Mithridates. Shortly afterwards she married George Clive, a barrister and a relative of the 1st Lord Clive, but husband and wife soon separated by mutual consent. In 1731 she definitely established her reputation as a comic actress and singer in Charles Coffey’s farce-opera adaptation, The Devil to Pay, and from this time she was always a popular favourite. She acted little outside Drury Lane, where in 1747 she became one of the original members of Garrick’s company. She took part, however, in some of the oratorios of Handel, whose friend she was. In 1769, having been a member of Garrick’s company for twenty-two years, she quitted the stage, and lived for sixteen years in retirement at a villa at Twickenham, which had been given her some time previously by her friend Horace Walpole. Mrs Clive had small claim to good looks, but as an actress of broad comedy she was unreservedly praised by Goldsmith, Johnson and Garrick. She had a quick temper, which on various occasions involved her in quarrels, and at times sorely tried the patience of Garrick, but her private life remained above suspicion, and she regularly supported her father and his family. She died at Twickenham on the 6th of December 1785. Horace Walpole placed in his garden an urn to her memory, bearing an inscription, of which the last two lines run:
“The comic muse with her retired
And shed a tear when she expired.”
See Percy Fitzgerald, Life of Mrs Catherine Clive (1888); W. R. Chetwood, General History of the Stage (1749); Thomas Davies, Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick (1784).