Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bullock, Christopher

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1321763Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 07 — Bullock, Christopher1886John Joseph Knight
BULLOCK, CHRISTOPHER (1690?–1724), actor and dramatist, spoken of in the playbills as Bullock, junior, was the son of William Bullock [q. v.], also an actor. The date of his birth may be approximately fixed as 1690. In 1717 he married Jane, the natural daughter of Robert Wilks, the actor, and Mrs. Rogers. She was a rather pleasing actress, survived him fifteen years, and died in 1739 in Ireland. Christopher Bullock's first reported appearance took place in 1708 with the summer company holding possession of Drury Lane. On 37 July 1708 he played the Marquis of Posa in Otway's 'Don Carlos,' and two days later Hippolito in Dryden's adaptation of the 'Tempest.' Bullock and his father joined, in 1709, the associated actors, Wilks, Doggett, Cibber, and Mrs. Oldfleld, who entered into partnenthip with Swiney in the management of the Haymarket. With the company he migrated, 1710–11, to Drury Lane remained four years. Still following the lead of his father, where he was one of the seven or eight actors who, in 1714–15, acquired the name of 'deserters' by quitting the Drury Lane company and joining Rich at the reconstructed theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. At this house, with the management of which, in connection with Theophilus Keen, he soon became associated, he stayed for the remainder of his brief life. Here he played the class of character assigned at Drury Lane to Colley Cibber. His success is said to have been the cause why he is passed over without mention in Cibber's 'Apology.' Few original characters were assigned him except in his own plays, which are seven in number, and were all produced at Lincoln's Inn Fields. The list is as follows: 1. 'A Woman's Revenge,' a comedy, 1715, 12mo (8th edit. 1758), played 24 Oct. 1716, an adaption of 'The Revenge, or A Match in Newgate,' a comedy ascribed to Mrs. Behn, but according to Longbaine founded on 'The Dutch Courtezan' of Marston. 2. 'Slip,' a farce, 12mo. 1715, acted on 3 Feb. 1715, extracted from 'A Mad World, my Masters,' by Middleton. 3. 'Adventures of Half an Hour,' farce, 12mo, 1716, played on 19 March 1716. 4. 'Cobler of Preston,' farce, 12mo, 1716, acted on 24 Jan. 1716, and taken from the framework of the 'Taming of the Shrew.' 5. 'The Penurer,' a farce, 8vo, 1717, produced on 12 Dec. 1717. 6. 'Woman's a Riddle,' comedy, 4to, 1718, acted on 4 Dec. 1716, adapted from the Spanish of 'La Dama Duende.' 7. 'The Traytor,' a tragedy, 8vo, 1718, acted on 11 Oct. 1718, altered from Shirley. Bullock's share in most of these pieces, as is seen, is small. He is taxed in the case of more than one with disingenuousness or something worse. Dr. Johnson (Life of Savage), following Giles Jacob (Poetical Register), asserts that, after having been rejected by the players at Lincoln's Inn Fields, 'Woman's a Riddle' was given by Savage, its author, to Bullock, who, with slight alterations, produced it as his own, and allowed Savage a share in the profits or honours. A second account is that the play was translated by Mrs. Price, the wife of Robert Price, baron of the exchequer, and that copies of it were given by her to Savage, to Bullock, and to another writer unnamed, and that Bullock, in his position of manager, was able to be first in the field. Neither as an actor nor as a dramatist is Bullock entitled to a high place. His premature death in 1724 cut short, however, a career of some promise.

[Egerton's Theatrical Remembrancer, 1788; Genest's Account of the English Stage; Chetwood's General History of the Stage; Thespian Dictionary; Jacob's Poetical Register, 1723; Johnson's Lives of the Poets; Baker, Reed, and Jones's Biographia Dramatica.]

J. K.