Sophia Baddeley

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Sophia Baddeley (1745–1786) was an English actress, singer and courtesan.[1]


Early life, musical career

She was born in London, the daughter of Valentine Snow, a sergeant-trumpeter. As a child, she was trained by her father for a future musical career. At the age of eighteen she eloped with the actor Robert Baddeley, then on the stage at Drury Lane. She made her first appearance as an actress there on 27 April, 1765, as Ophelia in Hamlet. She also played Cordelia in King Lear, Imogen in Cymbeline and later Olivia in Twelfth Night. In 1769, she joined David Garrick's theatre company when he staged the Stratford Jubilee. More noted as a talented singer than an actress, she obtained engagements at Ranelegh and Vauxhall to public acclaim.

Life as a courtesan

At the height of her success and after separating from her husband in 1770, she discovered that she could sustain herself financially by finding wealthy benefactors, establishing herself as a courtesan to them. She was famous for her beauty, and was also noted for her extravagant lifestyle. Her overspending and ultimate failure in managing her finances eventually obliged her to take refuge from her creditors in Dublin, Ireland and later Edinburgh, Scotland. Her benefactors gone, and her own health in decline, she made her last appearance on the stage in Edinburgh in 1785.


  • Steele, Elizabeth (6 Vols., 1787). Memoirs of Mrs. Sophia Baddeley
  • Hickman, Katie (2003). Courtesans: Money, Sex and Fame in the Nineteenth Century

External links

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