RICHARD D'OYLY CARTE Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


Biography » theater opera and movie personalities » richard d'oyly carte


Name: Richard D'Oyly Carte                                                         
Born: 3 May 1844                                                                   
Died: 3 April 1901                                                                 
Richard D'Oyly Carte (May 3, 1844 – April 3, 1901) was an English theatrical     
impresario and hotelier during the latter half of the 19th century. He is best     
known for producing the Savoy Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, founding the D'Oyly   
Carte Opera Company, and building both the Savoy Theatre and the Savoy Hotel.       
Carte was born in Soho's Greek Street in the West End of London, the eldest of     
six children. Of Welsh and Norman ancestry (D'Oyly is Norman French), Carte         
was brought up in a cultured home. His father, Richard Carte, was a flautist,       
music publisher and musical instrument maker, his mother was the former Eliza       
Jones, and the younger Carte was raised with a musical background, playing         
violin and then flute at an early age. The family spoke French at home two days     
a week. He attended the University School of London but left in 1861 to work in     
his father's music publishing and instrument manufacturing business, Rudall,       
Carte & Co. along with his brother, Henry Williams Carte. He also studied music     
during this time.                                                                   
Carte was married twice. His first wife was Blanche Julia Prowse, the daughter     
of a piano manufacturer. They married in 1871 and had two sons, Lucas and Rupert.   
Blanche died in 1885, but she and Carte were separated before her death. Three     
years later, in 1888, he married Helen Lenoir (born Susan Couper Black), whom he   
had employed as his secretary in 1877. Helen Carte became intensely involved in     
all the business affairs of her husband and had a grasp of detail,                 
organisational ability, diplomacy and acumen that surpassed even her husband's.     
The couple's London home included the first private elevator.                       
Carte died on April 3, 1901. He is buried in the churchyard of St. Andrew's         
church in Fairlight, East Sussex, near his parents' graves.