This sensitive study depicts Eva Maria Garrick – known professionally as Violette - the celebrated Viennese dancer and wife of eighteenth-century London’s most famous actor, David Garrick.
Drawn by Nathaniel Dance in around 1771, this drawing is a repetition of a study in the National Portrait Gallery. Eva Maria Veigel had a hugely successful career as a dancer, patronised by the Earl and Countess of Burlington, at whose house in Piccadilly she lodged until her marriage to Garrick in 1749. The Garricks were very happily married for thirty years. Eva Maria was Garrick's constant companion at home and abroad, his supporter and adviser in theatrical affairs, a gracious hostess on social occasions, and a welcome guest in the grand houses the couple visited. Garrick's social aggrandizement is inconceivable without her. Her taste and intelligence are discernible in the books and paintings they bought, in the way they furnished their houses, and between the lines of Garrick's voluminous correspondence. This penetrating portrait study captures Eva Maria Garrick’s intelligence and poise, recalling Mary Delany’s observation that she seemed: ‘never to depart from a perfect propriety of behaviour, accompanied with good sense and gentleness of manners.’