THE LYING VALET was first acted at Goodman's Fields on November 30, 1741, as the afterpiece to Otway The Orphan. Garrick himself took the title rôle, and made it a popular one. The Gentleman's Magazine for October, 1742, remarks: "In the parts of Richard III, and King Lear, The Lying Valet, and Bayes in the Rehearsal, he [ Garrick] is as different as they are opposite, and enters into their spirit with great Justness and Propriety." Both Shuter and Quick later played the part. The farce was acted at Covent Garden on October 11, 1743, May 2, 1758, and November 30, 1784. Its representations at Drury-Lane were far more frequent than at the other playhouses. Letters of the period show it was favorably received.
The piece was written as early as October 20, 1741; for on that date, the day after his triumph as Richard III, Garrick wrote to his brother Peter: "I have a farce (ye Lying Valet) coming out at Drury Lane." Genest has pointed out that this farce is, in great measure, taken from P. A. Motteux's All without Money, which formed the second act of a play called Novelty: Every Act a Play, published at London in 1697.
The first edition of The Lying Valet was advertised by the printer, Roberts, in The Gentleman's Magazine for December, 1741. The title page of the first edition, however, bears the date 1742. A second edition appeared in 1743; and others, to the number of eight, came out between that date and 1761. In 1778 from R. Bell's press in Philadelphia, an edition was published with this title page: The Lying Valet A Comedy in two Acts. Written by D. Garrick,