James Love - actor

James Love

Born 1722
Died 1784

Alias: 

James Dance

Biography: 

Son of Architect George Dance (1700-1768). His birth name was James Dance, but he assumed the professional name of James Love in 1751 after the name of his mistress Catherine L'amour.1

Love was an actor and sometime manager of the Theatre in Edinburgh, and probable founder of the Theatre Royal in Richmond upon Thames, of which he was the manager (1766-1773). In 1763 he played the role of Falstaff at Drury Lane in London. Love was also a rather succesful author of italian inspired Pantomimes such as The Witches; or, Harlequin Cherokee (1762), The Rites of Hecate; or, Harlequin from the Moon (1763) and The Hermit; or, Harlequin at Rhodes (1766).2

  • 1. Chevalier, Noel (ed.). (1995). The Clandestine Marriage & Two Short Plays. p. 238
  • 2. Allardyce, Nicoll. (1952). A History of English Drama, 1660-1900 Vol. 3. Cambridge.

Life with Boswell: 

Boswell knew Love from Loves time at Edinburgh Theatre. They were good friends in the early 1760s, and Boswell visited the couple during his 1762-63 stay in London (first mentioned on November 25, 1762). Boswell probably had an affair with Mrs. Love in Edinburgh, and also saw some of her following Love's death in 1774. (Link)

Boswell wanted to distance himself somewhat from Love following a visit to them on December 14, 1762. Love had criticized Boswell's friend, the actor West Digges, in a way, so that Boswell afterwards wrote in his diary that he would only consider the Loves remote acquaintances from that point on. However, as was typical for Boswell, his moods frequently changed, and on December 28, 1762 he again went to see Love. Love had lunch with him on the next day. They saw a bit of each other in the spring of 1763 as well, partly because Love owed Boswell £40.1 Apparently, Love didn't soon repay the money, and Boswell, in his memo of June 7, 1763, wrote "Write to Love strongly [...] and threaten him". On June 21, however, Love did repay £10, and the two of them dined together.

They never became close friends again, although they seem to have had a good enough relationship from Love's re-entry in Boswell's journal in 1769, when Boswell visited him at his theatre in Richmond. Boswell also visited Love a few times in the last few years before his death in 1774.