STOPPELAER, MICHAEL

(fl. 1730-1775)

Portrait Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Brother of Herbert Stoppelaer (q.v.). He was an actor and singer as well as a painter, and was employed at Covent Garden under Rich as a low comedian, and also acted at Drury Lane for several years in such minor parts as the Gravedigger in "Hamlet," and Ben Budge in "The Beggar's Opera." In his account of the revival of "King Richard II" at Covent Garden in 1738, Thomas Davies, in his "Dramatic Miscellanies" (I, 101) says: "The personae dramatis of this play are so numerous that the manager was reduced to the necessity of employing honest Michael Stoppelaer, of blundering memory, in the part of a dignified clergyman, the Abbot of Westminster, to which he was by no means equal: for Stoppelaer's action and behaviour, added to an accidental hoarseness, set the spectators in a loud laugh. Honest Mick was remarkable for singing a Scotch or Irish song, particularly 'Arrah, my Judy,' and 'Corn Riggs are Bonny.' He was something of a scholar too, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He sang, not unpleasingly, to a tune which I have forgotten, Horace's Ode of 'Integer Vitae seclerisque purus,'" etc. The statement that he was educated in Trinity College is not supported by the College records, where no entry of his matriculation can be found. In 1740, 24th July, "Mr. Stoppelaer" played the Jew in the Hogarthian pantomime of "The Harlot's Progress," at Smock Alley theatre. In 1775 he was associated with Charles Dibdin in the Patagonian theatre over Exeter Change, a puppet show, for which he painted the scenes and spoke for the puppets. During his theatrical career, such as it was, he continued his painting, which appears to have been his chief means of livelihood.

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