Famous 19th Century British Playwrights

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 19th Century British Playwrights
 1 
P B Shelley
(One of the Epic Poets of the 19th Century)
P B Shelley
5
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Warnham, United Kingdom
Died: July 8, 1822
Legendary English Romantic poetry P.B. Shelley is remembered for his masterpieces such as Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and Prometheus Unbound. He was known for his poetic imagery, and his popularity soared after his premature death due to drowning while boating at age 29. 
 2 
P G Wodehouse
4
Birthdate: October 15, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guildford, England
Died: February 14, 1975
 3 
J. B. Priestley
(Novelist and Playwright)
J. B. Priestley
5
Birthdate: September 13, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: August 14, 1984
Recommended Lists:
Frances Hodgson Burnett
7
Birthdate: November 24, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheetham, Manchester, England
Died: October 29, 1924
 5 
Ivor Novello
(Actor, Playwright, Composer, Writer, Screenwriter, Songwriter)
Ivor Novello
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cardiff
Died: March 6, 1951
 6 
Edgar Wallace
(Multi-genre writer who is most famous for King Kong and the J. G. Reeder detective series)
Edgar Wallace
5
Birthdate: April 1, 1875
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Greenwich, Kent, England, united Kingdom
Died: February 10, 1932
 7 
W. S. Gilbert
(Dramatist)
W. S. Gilbert
4
Birthdate: November 18, 1836
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Southampton Street, London, England
Died: May 29, 1911
 8 
William Maugham
(Novelist & Playwright)
William Maugham
5
Birthdate: January 25, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 15, 1965
Edward Bulwer-Lytton
6
Birthdate: May 25, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 18, 1873
 10 
Arnold Ridley
7
Birthdate: January 7, 1896
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bath, Somerset, England, UK [now Bath and North East Somerset, England, UK]
Died: March 12, 1984
 11 
George Arliss
(Writer, Playwright, Film director, Autobiographer, Screenwriter, Stage actor, Film actor)
George Arliss
6
Birthdate: April 10, 1868
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: February 5, 1946
Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany
6
Birthdate: July 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 25, 1957

Edward Plunkett was a talented Irish author, known for his fantasy novels such as The King of Elfland's Daughter. Initially educated at Eton and then at Sandhurst, he had also been part of the British Army in World War I. He also designed chess puzzles and was a keen hunter.

 13 
Alfred Noyes
4
Birthdate: September 16, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wolverhampton
Died: June 28, 1958
 14 
Baroness Orczy
(British Novelist and Playwright Best Known for Her Series of Novels Featuring the Scarlet Pimpernel)
Baroness Orczy
3
Birthdate: September 23, 1865
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tarnaörs, Heves County, Hungary
Died: November 12, 1947

Best known for her historical novel The Scarlet Pimpernel, Hungarian-British novelist Emma Orczy was the only child of noted composer Baron Felix Orczy. While she initially studied art, she later took to writing. Apart from the Pimpernel sequels, she also penned several collections of detective stories, such as Lady Molly of Scotland Yard.

 15 
Howard Staunton
(Chess Master)
Howard Staunton
4
Birthdate: April 1, 1810
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 22, 1874
 16 
R.C. Sherriff
4
Birthdate: June 6, 1896
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hampton Wick, England
Died: November 13, 1975
 17 
Anthony Hope
(British Novelist and Playwright Known for His Work 'The Prisoner of Zenda')
Anthony Hope
3
Birthdate: February 9, 1863
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lower Clapton, London, England
Died: July 8, 1933

Best known for his iconic novel The Prisoner of Zenda, Anthony Hope specialized in cloak-and-sword romances and eventually created a separate genre, known as the Ruritanian romance, set in the mythical country of Ruritania. He was also knighted for his achievements but eventually succumbed to throat cancer.

 18 
Israel Zangwill
4
Birthdate: January 21, 1864
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 1, 1926
 19 
Seymour Hicks
(Actor, Film producer, Playwright)
Seymour Hicks
4
Birthdate: January 30, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Helier, Jersey
Died: April 6, 1949
 20 
Gilbert Murray
(British Author Best Known for His Verse Translations of Greek Drama)
Gilbert Murray
4
Birthdate: January 2, 1866
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Died: May 20, 1957

Gilbert Murray was an Australian-born British intellectual and scholar who specialized in the culture and language of Ancient Greece. A well-known humanist, Murray served as the president of Humanists UK from 1929 to 1930. Gilbert Murray also played an important role in the establishment of Oxfam as well as the Institute of World Affairs.

 21 
Mina Loy
(Poet)
Mina Loy
4
Birthdate: December 27, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 25, 1966
 22 
Henry Mayhew
(British Journalist, Playwright and One of the Co-founders of the Satirical Magazine 'Punch')
Henry Mayhew
4
Birthdate: November 25, 1812
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 25, 1887

A co-founder of the iconic British satirical magazine Punch, Henry Mayhew ran away from home to work for the East India Company on a ship to Calcutta. He then worked as a trainee lawyer, before finding his footing in freelance journalism. He remains best-known for his 4-volume London Labour and the London Poor.

 23 
Felicia Hemans
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1793
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: May 16, 1835
 24 
Enid Bagnold
(Author)
Enid Bagnold
2
Birthdate: October 27, 1889
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rochester, England
Died: March 31, 1981
 25 
Karl August Wittfogel
2
Birthdate: September 6, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Woltersdorf, Lüchow, Province of Hanover, Free State of Prussia, German Empire
Died: May 25, 1988
 26 
Charles Reade
(Novelist)
Charles Reade
2
Birthdate: June 8, 1814
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ipsden, England
Died: April 11, 1884
Micheál MacLiammóir
2
Birthdate: October 25, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 6, 1978
Sir Arthur Wing Pinero
2
Birthdate: 1855 AD
Died: 1934 AD
 29 
Frederick Lonsdale
(Playwright)
Frederick Lonsdale
2
Birthdate: February 5, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Helier, Jersey
Died: April 4, 1954
 30 
Charles Dibdin
(Composer)
Charles Dibdin
2
Birthdate: March 4, 1745
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Southampton, England
Died: July 25, 1814
 31 
Mary Russell Mitford
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1787
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Alresford, England
Died: January 10, 1855
 32 
Laurence Housman
(Playwright)
Laurence Housman
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1865
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bromsgrove, England
Died: February 20, 1959
 33 
Tom Taylor
(British Playwright and and Editor of 'Punch Magazine')
Tom Taylor
2
Birthdate: October 19, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland, England
Died: July 12, 1880

Tom Taylor was an English biographer, dramatist, critic, and public servant. He also contributed as an editor for the popular British weekly magazine, Punch. His best-known playwright work Our American Cousin has gained historical significance as Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 while watching this particular play.

 34 
John Drinkwater
2
Birthdate: June 1, 1882
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leytonstone, London, England
Died: March 25, 1937
Harley Granville-Barker
2
Birthdate: November 25, 1877
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 31, 1946
 36 
Charlotte Lennox
2
Birthdate: 1730 AD
Birthplace: Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Died: January 4, 1804
 37 
Guy Bolton
(Playwright)
Guy Bolton
2
Birthdate: November 23, 1884
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Broxbourne, England
Died: September 4, 1979
 38 
Ben Travers
(Writer)
Ben Travers
1
Birthdate: November 12, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hendon, England
Died: December 18, 1980
 39 
Susanna Rowson
(Novelist)
Susanna Rowson
2
Birthdate: 1762 AD
Birthplace: Portsmouth, England
Died: March 2, 1824
 40 
Elizabeth Inchbald
2
Birthdate: October 15, 1753
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Suffolk, England
Died: August 1, 1821
 41 
Charles Langbridge Morgan
(Author and critic)
Charles Langbridge Morgan
2
Birthdate: January 22, 1894
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bromley, United Kingdom
Died: February 6, 1958
 42 
Matthew Gregory Lewis
(British Novelist, Dramatist and Former Member of Parliament for Hindon (1796 - 1802))
Matthew Gregory Lewis
3
Birthdate: July 9, 1775
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 14, 1818

Remembered as Monk Lewis, because of his iconic Gothic novel The Monk, English novelist Matthew Lewis initially worked for the British embassy in the Netherlands. The owner of a huge fortune in Jamaica, he made a voyage to the place to supervise his slaves but died of yellow fever on the voyage back.

Thomas Lovell Beddoes
1
Birthdate: June 30, 1803
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Clifton, Bristol, England
Died: January 26, 1849
 44 
William John Locke
(Novelist, Playwright)
William John Locke
0
Birthdate: March 20, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Demerara, Guyana
Died: May 15, 1930
 45 
Henry Arthur Jones
1
Birthdate: September 20, 1851
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grandborough, England
Died: January 7, 1929
 46 
George Colman the Younger
1
Birthdate: October 21, 1762
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 17, 1836
 47 
Stephen Phillips
1
Birthdate: July 28, 1864
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Died: December 9, 1915
Robert Williams Buchanan
1
Birthdate: August 18, 1841
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Caverswall, England
Died: June 10, 1901
 49 
Elsie Fogerty
(Teacher)
Elsie Fogerty
1
Birthdate: December 16, 1865
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sydenham, London, England
Died: July 4, 1945
 50 
Stephen Kemble
(Theatre actor)
Stephen Kemble
1
Birthdate: April 21, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kington, Herefordshire, England
Died: June 5, 1822