George Grossmith was originally a performing songwriter. He made his first dramatic appearance in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer in 1877. He was so successful that the D’Oyly Carte company kept him on for the next eight productions. As a result, he created some of the most famous comic roles written by Gilbert and Sullivan. He was the first ever Ko Ko in The Mikado, and Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore.
This picture shows him as Jack Point in The Yeomen of the Guard. The role required some depth as well as his usual comic brilliance. The Daily Telegraph thought he was perfect: ‘Whether giving expression to poor Jack’s professional wit, or hiding a sorry heart behind light words… Mr Grossmith was master of the part he assumed’. His son, George Grossmith junior, known as GeeGee, also became a musical actor. He was a regular at the Gaiety Theatre in the lighthearted musicals produced by George Edwardes.