Some characters of London 1776
Opera singer. ‘Her caprice is, if possible, even greater than her talents … She is certainly the most dangerous syren of modern times.’
Playwright and adventurer. Spies for France and works on a cunning plan to provide the American rebels with gunpowder.
Actress. ‘She is confessedly, in the comic line, the principal ornament of the British stage,’ and Dr Johnson likes her jelly.
Prime minister. ‘One of the best companions in the kingdom’ (Gibbon). ‘The blundering pilot who … has lost a whole continent’ (Charles Fox).
Captain Jack Roper
Masquerade hero. Keen on kicking up a dust. Said to have been ‘in a state of incessant inebriation for the last six years of his life’.
Mohawk chief. Feted by George III and ministers who hope for Mohawk support in the American war.
Otaheitean. Lionised by high society. Skates on the frozen Serpentine, attends masquerades, and prepares to return home with Captain Cook.
Actor and theatre manager. ‘Moves about among the other actors like a living man among puppets.’ His final season on stage.
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
Leader of the ton. Her high stakes gambling and determination to keep it up cause concern. Sports extravagant head-dresses.
The Countess of Tyrconnel
Eloper. Leaves Hanover Square and goes into hiding near Tottenham Court Road until her presence there is rumbled.
Some of the illustrations on this website appear in the book courtesy of New York Public Library, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale.