Image of Arthur Wing Pinero


Lifetime: 1855 - 1934 Passed: ≈ 89 years ago


Playwright, Actor



Arthur Wing Pinero

Sir Arthur Wing Pinero was an English playwright and, early in his career, actor.

Pinero was drawn to the theatre from an early age, and became a professional actor at the age of 19. He gained experience as a supporting actor in British provincial theatres, and from 1876 to 1881 was a member of Henry Irving's company, based at the Lyceum Theatre, London.

Pinero was born in London, the only son, and second of three children, of John Daniel Pinero (1798–1871), and his wife Lucy, née Daines (1836–1905). Pinero's father and grandfather were London solicitors. They were descended from the Pinheiro family, described by Pinero's biographer John Dawick as "a distinguished family of Sephardic Jews who rose to prominence in medieval Portugal before suffering the persecutions of the Inquisition". Pinero's branch of the family fled to England. His grandfather abandoned the Jewish faith, became a member of the Church of England, married a Christian Englishwoman, Margaret Wing, and became a highly successful lawyer. His younger son, Pinero's father, also took up the legal profession, but was much less successful; Pinero was brought up in circumstances that were not poor but were not affluent. He attended Spa Fields Chapel charity school in Exmouth Street, Clerkenwell, London, until the age of ten, when he went to work in his father's office.

John Daniel Pinero died in May 1871, leaving very little money. To contribute to the family income, Pinero continued to work as a solicitor's clerk, earning £1 a week. In the evenings he studied elocution at the Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution. He and his fellow students staged several productions of plays, and Pinero became irresistibly drawn to the theatre. In May 1874 he abandoned the legal profession and joined R. H. Wyndham at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, as a "general utility" actor. He made his professional debut in the small role of a groom in an adaptation of Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White.

Books by Arthur Wing Pinero

The Princess and the Butterfly Cover image

The Princess and the Butterfly

Love Fear Comics Romance Castle Fun

The English-born Princess Pannonia had spent the twenty years of her marriage isolated in the Prince's remote Hungarian castle. Now widowed, she returns to London to re-engage with former friends, all fearfully facing middle-age. Can romance be rekin...

The Freaks: An Idyll of Suburbia Cover image

The Freaks: An Idyll of Suburbia

Money Comics Culture Trust Mortality

When Mrs. Herrick's brother Charlie dies, he leaves his money in trust for members of the circus he used to own under the name of "Segantini's World Renowned Mammoth International Hippodrome and Museum of Living Marvels". When five of the Extraordina...

Iris Cover image


Marriage Play Love Young Society Classics Relationships Women

"Iris" is a dramatic comedy that explores themes of love, family, and society through its portrayal of a young woman named Iris and her relationships with the people in her life. The play is notable for its witty dialogue and its sharp commentary on...

A Wife Without A Smile Cover image

A Wife Without A Smile

Marriage Play Nature Comics Relationships

It is a classic play that explores the complexities of marriage and relationships in Victorian society. The play revolves around the character of Lady Carbury, a woman who appears to have everything but is deeply unhappy and unfulfilled in her marria...

Trelawny of the Wells Cover image

Trelawny of the Wells

Play Struggle Journey Life Desire Music Relationships

This is the story of a young actress named Rose Trelawny, who struggles to adapt to the changing times of the theatre world in the late 19th century. First performed in 1898, "Trelawny of the Wells" is a comedy-drama that explores the clash between...

Letty Cover image


Love Challenges Victorian Society Journey Life Desire Emotion Relationships Secret

This compelling story follows the life of Letty, a young woman who finds herself entangled in a web of romance, scandal, and personal transformation. Set in the backdrop of Victorian society, "Letty" explores the struggles and challenges faced by it...

The Profligate Cover image

The Profligate

Drama Novel
Play Morality Self-Discovery Conflicts Relationships Literary Fiction Live Performances

"The Profligate" by Arthur Wing Pinero is a captivating novel that explores the consequences of a young man's reckless behavior and the path to redemption. Written by Arthur Wing Pinero, a prominent British playwright and novelist, this compelling st...

The Cabinet Minister Cover image

The Cabinet Minister

Satire Drama
Play Love Politics Act Corruption Experiences Ambition Hypocrisy

"A Cabinet Minister is forced to choose between his career and his wife in this gripping political drama by Arthur Wing Pinero." The Cabinet Minister is a play by Arthur Wing Pinero that was first performed in 1890. The play tells the story of Sir R...

The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith Cover image

The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith

Satire Drama
Family Marriage Play Love Redemption Happiness Sex Betrayal Relationships

What happens when a notorious woman falls in love with a rising politician? The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith by Arthur Wing Pinero is a Victorian melodrama that explores the themes of love, betrayal, and redemption. The story follows Agnes Ebbsmith, a b...

Amazons: A Farcical Romance Cover image

Amazons: A Farcical Romance

This 1895 farce inspired by the outlandish idea of women wearing pants, centers around the predicament of the three daughters of the eccentric Marchioness of Castlejordan, who determined to have sons, raised them like boys. She encouraged them to dre...

Magistrate Cover image


The success of “The Magistrate” was immediate, and the Court Theatre was crowded night after night for more than a year, the play being presented over 300 times. So prosperous was the run that there was no cessation during the Summer holiday season....

Schoolmistress Cover image


The second of Pinero's farces, following the wildly successful The Magistrate, and likewise a hit. The Schoolmistress has a secret: "Think of the deception I am practising upon dear Vere! Think of the people who believe in the rigid austerity of Caro...

Dandy Dick Cover image

Dandy Dick

“Dandy Dick” was the third of the farces which Mr. Pinero wrote for the old Court Theatre—a series of plays which, besides giving playgoers a fresh source of laughter, and the English stage a new order of comic play, brought plentiful prosperity to t...

Second Mrs. Tanqueray Cover image

Second Mrs. Tanqueray

Aubrey Tanqueray marries a woman with a past which he believes will not matter in society. "I know you think me a fool, Cayley—you needn't infer that I'm a coward into the bargain. No! I know what I'm doing, and I do it deliberately, defiantly. I'm a...

Gay Lord Quex Cover image

Gay Lord Quex

Lord Quex, after a life of philandering, has decided to reform and marry. But he is not believed, particularly by the guardian of his intended. The play shows the difficulties in shaking a discreditable past - and how it is different for a male Lord...

Benefit of the Doubt Cover image

Benefit of the Doubt

The plot resolves around a young woman being cited in court as "The Other Woman" in a divorce case, and how her family reacts to it. Says her uncle: I shall go out; people shall see me walking boldly through the streets: Portland Place—Regent Street—...

"Mind The Paint" Girl Cover image

"Mind The Paint" Girl

Another Pinero play from the early 1900s. With a social message about the effects of stardom on the star as well as those that love them. "I’m afraid there’s one thing finer than winning the woman you love and, when you’ve won her, being prepared to...

In Chancery Cover image

In Chancery

Subtitled "An Original Fantastic Comedy in Three Acts", this should be another enjoyable farce by Pinero, including memory loss, mistaken identity, crime and detection, romance, and many other of life's various complications. "Your husband?" "My husb...

Big Drum Cover image

Big Drum

Another Pinero play. Biting satire this time, ironic comedy - not a farce. The Big Drum, a novel being written by Phil, one of the main characters, is "an attempt to portray the struggle for notoriety—for self-advertisement—we see going on around us...

Squire Cover image


"Then take a word of advice—cut yourself adrift from Squire Kate's apron strings. (Gilbert turns away) When my father, John Verity, died, and left his girl alone in the world, you helped me out of debt and difficulty; but all the skill on earth can n...

Rocket Cover image


Gentlemen out away from London, looking for wives. "I'm going to settle down, hearthrug and slippers and all that sort of thing." "So a lot of us have made up our minds to marry and retire from public life, and as I couldn't find any suitable partie...

Money-Spinner Cover image


When his younger brother incurs a large betting debt, what could be easier than for a man to borrow the money to save him from the factory he runs while his employers are away. Whoops; his employers are coming back before he has repaid the money. Ah,...

Hobby-Horse Cover image


A man's wife is caught up in Philanthropy, generously supporting all sorts of good causes. But that does not include her husband's interests in "the Turf or the Stable - no feeling except one of positive distaste." So what is he to do? How about some...

Sweet Lavender Cover image

Sweet Lavender

"Sweet Lavender" must be regarded as one of the most successful stage-plays of modern times, and there can be no question that it has proved so far the most popular of Mr. Pinero's works. Its representations may be counted by the thousand, and its po...

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