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    A portrait miniature of Irish 18th century actress Margaret “Peg” Woffington by the artist James Ferguson, is a highlight of Bonhams fine portrait miniatures sale in Knightsbridge, London, on May 25.  Born in Dublin in 1720 she started as a street singer before making her stage debut aged 10 as Polly Peachum in the ‘Beggars’ Opera’.   She made her name as an actress in Dublin.  In 1740 her success as Sir Harry Wildair in ‘The Constant Couple’ led to her London debut in Covent Garden.
    Considered a beauty she met and fell in love with David Garrick, the foremost actor of his day. She lived openly with Garrick. Other love affairs, including liaisons with Edward Bligh, 2nd Earl of Darnley and the MP, Charles Hanbury Williams, were numerous and notorious. Woffington, who continued to act in London and in Dublin, managed to educate her sister Mary and pensioned their mother.  She left Garrick in 1744 and moved to Teddington.
    In 1757 she collapsed on stage. Illness prevented her from acting again.  Instead she built and endowned almhouses in Teddington. She died in 1760. The miniature is estimated at £1,500- 2,500.
    UPDATE:  It was sold for £4,800 including buyer’s premium.

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