Joseph Dyer

Actor & Comedian


Born in 1726, possibly in Ireland, Joseph ‘Daddy’ Dyer was a comedian, mimic and actor. Chetwood’s General History of the Stage (1749) describes him as –

not only a useful, but a very pleasing Actor; his good Voice, and easy-acquired Manner, gives him a Cast above many of his Contemporaries, being the best allowed Singer on the Dublin Theatre that is not a professed Singer . . . he can take off not only every Actor, Male and Female, worth mimicking, but also Singers and Dancers, foreign and domestic.

Dyer died at Exeter in December 1785, his death being announced by the Bath Chronicle (5 Jan. 1786) at a ‘very advanced age’. He was in fact sixty.

Painted on paper during the 1770s or early 1780s, the profile may have been taken during a performance. It is inscribed ‘Daddy Dyer / Comedian / Exeter’. The silhouette is handsomely displayed in a Georgian burr maple frame with a gilt slip.

Item Ref. 6935

Size: framed, 208 x 188mm (8⅛ x 7⅜")

Provenance: Bill Fox-Smith collection