Veigel, Eva-Maria (1724–1822)

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Veigel, Eva-Maria (1724–1822)

Italian-born English dancer, actress, and Bluestocking. Name variations: Eva Maria Veigel; Eva-Maria Garrick; Eva Maria Violetti; (stage name) La Violette. Born in 1724 in Vienna; died in 1822 in London; married David Garrick (the actor), in London, on June 22, 1749; no children.

Little is known about Eva-Maria Veigel's family or childhood. She was born in Vienna in 1724 and in 1746 moved to London, where she worked as a dancer at the Haymarket Opera House. Her stage name was La Violette, so she was also known as Eva Maria Violetti. In 1747, she met David Garrick, London's most celebrated actor and manager of the popular Drury Lane theater. She declined his offer to dance at the theater, but agreed to marry him and retire from performing in 1749; her aristocratic supporters, the earl and countess of Burlington, provided a substantial sum of £6,000 to her as a dowry. It was a happy marriage and the Garricks became well known among London's high society. In 1763, they left England for a sightseeing tour of the European continent, visiting France, Italy, and Germany, before their return two years later. Garrick retired in 1775, and the couple became regulars in the literary clubs flourishing in London, often reciting scenes to amuse their audience. After Garrick's death in 1779, the grieving Veigel shared a home with Hannah More , the poet, playwright, and religious writer who had been a longtime intimate of the Garricks; Veigel referred to More as her "chaplain."

When she came out of mourning in 1781, Veigel again joined in the salons of London's Bluestockings, a group of women who gathered weekly to discuss literature and other scholarly topics. Although she was not well educated like most of the other women, such as her close friend the host and poet Elizabeth Montagu , Veigel was a respected member of these informal societies. Eva-Maria Veigel outlived all of her companions, dying in London in 1822, at age 98.

sources:

Barton, Margaret. Garrick. London: Faber and Faber, 1948.

Kendall, Alan. David Garrick: A Biography. NY: St. Martin's Press, 1985.

Laura York , M.A. in History, University of California, Riverside, California