COLLINS, JOHN

(d. 1808)

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Mentioned by Pasquin as a "miniature painter in profile," but no evidence can be found elsewhere to support this statement. He was a native of Bath, and bred up to the business of a staymaker; but while still young he took to the stage, and after acting in Bath, appeared in the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, in November, 1764. He afterwards played in London, and gained some success in comic opera. Subsequently he produced in London an entertainment styled "The Evening Brush," consisting of stories and humorous songs written by himself. With this entertainment he visited different towns in England and Ireland. When in Dublin in 1790 his "Evening Brush" was advertised as "That favourite and fashionable Pasticcio, Collins' Evening Brush for rubbing off the rust of care; or a comic review of the English Stage, with digressive strictures on eccentrical actors of the boards, as exhibited in London at the Royalty Theatre" ("Dublin Chronicle," June 9, 1790). In 1793 Collins settled in Birmingham, where he became one of the proprietors of the "Birmingham Chronicle," and died on 2nd May, 1808. His wife, distinguished for her beauty, painted miniature likenesses in profile. The "Belfast News Letter" in 1781, when Collins was acting there, had an advertisement from Mrs. Collins saying that she supplied "Royal patent likenesses in painted profile at half a guinea each, glass included." A portrait of John Collins, in Indian ink, tinted, signed J. C. B., is in the British Museum, and was engraved in aquatint.

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