Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Greatheed, Bertie

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GREATHEED, BERTIE (1759–1826), dramatist, born on 19 Oct. 1759 (Gent. Mag. 1759, p. 497), was the son of Samuel Greatheed (1710-1765) of Guy's Cliffe, near Warwick, by his wife Lady Mary Bertie, daughter of Peregrine, second duke of Ancaster. When residing in Florence he became a member of the society called 'Gli Oziosi' and a contributor to their privately printed collection of fugitive pieces entitled 'The Arno Miscellany,' 8vo, Florence, 1784. The following year he contributed to 'The Florence Miscellany,' 8vo, Florence, 1785, a collection of poems by the 'Della-Cruscans,' for which he was termed by Gifford the Reuben of that school in the 'Baviad' and 'Mæviad.' A blankverse tragedy by him called 'The Regent' was brought out at Drury Lane Theatre on 1 April 1788, but, though supported by John Kemble and Mrs. Siddons, was withdrawn after trying the public patience for some nine nights (Genest, Hist. of the Stage, vi. 477-8). The epilogue was furnished by Mrs. Piozzi. The author afterwards published it with a dedication to Mrs. Siddons, who had once been an attendant upon his mother, and was his frequent guest at Guy's Cliffe. The play is less foolish than might be supposed; though Manuel, the hero, requests Gomez to 'go to the puddled market-place, and there dissect his heart upon the public shambles.' Greatheed died at Guy's Cliffe on 16 Jan. 1826, aged 66 (Gent. Mag. 1826, pt. i. pp. 367-8). His only son, Bertie, who died at Vicenza in Italy on 8 Oct. 1804, aged 23 (ib. 1804, pt. ii. pp. 1073, 1236), was an amateur artist of some talent. The younger Greatheed had married in France, and his only daughter became, on 20 March 1823, the wife of Lord Charles Percy, son of the Earl of Beverley.

[Baker's Biographia Dramatica, 1812, i. 296, iii. 197.]

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