Collection of letters from Thomas Dibdin…

Sixteen letters, all dating from 1819, that provide detailed view of the negotations over a very limited time period. The subjects of the letters include: Enquiring as to the terms for renting the theatre, suggesting that his figure of £10,000 per annum to include all the costumes and fixtures and fittings was quite sufficient; asking for a list of the present engagements and expenses; offering a further £3,000 to refurbish the theatre; vouching for the integrity of his backers (‘their sole motive is the placing me unconditionally and without controul as entire Manager & Conductor & principal Partner in the concern’); informing the committee sub rosa that Mr [Abraham] Walker of [Doyley’s Warehouse] the Strand would give security, expecting to take £200 for 200 nights [i.e. £40,000]; suggesting in July that he may be able to make a more advantageous offer; inviting Ward to lunch and dinner and to discuss business with Walker, and the following day putting forward the new proposal: (‘… I agree to pay the Taxes for the whole term in addition to a Rent of £9000 per An: for the first Two years and £10,000 per An: for the Remainder of the Term to be agreed on, which Term (considering the very discouraging and totally reduced state of the Theatre at present and that it will take a very long time to re-establish it) ought to be at the option of the Lessee, for seven, fourteen or twenty one years. …’). Dibdin continues the correspondence on 23 July by questioning why he has received no response to the proposition, and on the 31st putting forward to the committee a further offer of a loan from Walker (also included is Walker’s own proposition, dated 22 July); with two incompletely dated letters of 1919 to R. Peatre complaining that he (Peatre) should not have been given confidential information relating to the offer for the lease. Together with other Dibdin-relating material, including: Three Autograph Letters Signed from the dramatist Cecil Pitt to Winstone (?James Winston) and the Board of Management of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, (watermarked 1801 and postmarked 1804) concerning his own productions, and particularly Zingara, or the Heroine of China, for which he includes the printed playbill; also three letters of George Dibdin Pitt (1795-1855 – ‘I am the elder brother of Mr Pitt the Painter – and nephew of the Dibdins’), offering his services and those of Miss Pitt-Phillips (‘of the Worthing and Leicester Theatres’) to Elliston and Drury Lane, and elaborating on his theatrical achievements, 1826 and 1830 where dated.

  • TitleCollection of letters from Thomas Dibdin, Cecil Pitt and George Dibdin Pitt, relating to Drury Lane Theatre, 1804, 1819, 1826, and undated.

Catalog Record 

LWL Mss Group 6

Acquired July 2017

Theatre Royal, Birmingham.

Playbill advertising a performance at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham which principally takes the form of an apology announcing that the lead of the evening’s entertainment, Italian opera singer Angelica Catalani (1780-1849), is unable to attend due to ill health. The soprano’s appearance had been much publicised by the local press, hence the need to justify her absence by publishing a communication by the attending doctor.

  • TitleTheatre Royal, Birmingham. Mr. Bartley most respectfully begs leave to inform the public, that he received on Wednesday morning an intimation from Mr. Elliston, that Madame Catalani laboured under an indisposition of so serious a nature, that it precluded her from performing here on Friday evening … This present Friday, October 29, 1813, will be presented the favourite comedy of A bold stroke for a wife … to conclude with the favourite farce of The adopted child …
  • PublicationBirmingham [England] : [J]onathan Knott, [1813]

Catalog Record

File 767 P69B 619 1813

Acquired November 2017

Dalby Theatre. Tuesday July 19th, 1803. Wild oats …

lwlpr34629 (639x1024)

A playbill recording a performance of Wild oats by John O’Keeffe (1747-1833) and Cross purposes by William O’Brien (d. 1815), on 19 July 1803 at Dalby Theatre, the private playhouse of Edward Hartopp (1758-1808) at his seat Little Dalby Hall in Leicestershire. Edward Hartopp’s private theatricals seem to have been staged sporadically from 1777, becoming larger and more elaborate at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Edward Hartopp, his son, Mr. Bilsborrow, and two of the Misses Hamilton are listed as performers.

  • TitleDalby Theatre. Tuesday July 19th, 1803. Wild oats … : after which Cross purposes …
  • Production[Melton Mowbray] : Clementson, printer, Melton, [1803]

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

File 767 P69b D213 803

Acquired June 2016

At the Theatre Royal in Covent-Garden

lwlpr34630 (717x1024)

This playbill records a performance at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden of The constant couple by George Farquhar (1676-1707) on 22 May 1755 in which Margaret Woffington (1720?-1760) played the leading part of Sir Harry Wildair – one of the roles for which she was most celebrated. The part of Lady Lurewell was performed by Esther Hamilton (d. 1787). Other actors in the cast include Theophilus Cibber (1703-1758) and John Arthur (1708?-1772), actor and stage designer — it is likely that he was responsible for devising the “machinery” mentioned in a note at the foot of the sheet: “as any obstruction in the movement of the machinery will greatly prejudice the performance of the entertainment, it is hoped no persons will be displeased as their being refus’d admittance behind the scene.”

  • Author:  Covent Garden Theatre.
  • TitleAt the Theatre Royal in Covent-Garden, this present Thursday, being the 22d of May, will be acted a comedy, call’d The constant couple; or, A trip to the jubilee. : The part of Sir Harry Wildair by Mrs Woffington …
  • Publication[London : publisher not identified, 1755]

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

File 767 P69B C838 1755

Acquired June 20016

By permission of the Right Worshipful the Mayor

lwlpr32042 (450x1024)

A playbill printed on silk

  • TitleBy permission of the Right Worshipful the Mayor. Mrs. Pinchott’s third appearance, of the Theatres Royal Covent Garden and Drury-Lane. Finch returns his most hearty and sincere thanks to the public at large, for all the encouragement he has met with, and informs them, his benefit is fixed for Wednesday evening next, Nov. 4th … The extraordinary alteration & improvement the hwole of the interior of The Pantheon has undergone … The performance will commence with a new ballet dance, called the Merry millers. Principle characters Mr. Auld, Mr. Miller… the whole to conclude with a grand Indian spectacle … written by Mr. Usher, called The savage chieftain, or, Sidney & his faithful dog …
  • PublicationNorwich : John Berry, printer, [ca. 1815]

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

File 767 P69B P197 815++

Acquired July 2015

Miss Scott Evans, who was so flatteringly received in Aurelia…

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  • TitleMiss Scott Evans, who was so flatteringly received in Aurelia, begs leave respectfully to inform her friends and the public, that her benefit, at the New Royal Circus … is fixed for Saturday, the 3rd of October, 1801 … when the new grand spectacle of King Caesar, or, The Negro slaves, with new music, scenery, machinery, dresses, and decorations, will be performed; to which will be added The eclips, or, Harlequin in China ; teh part of Columbine by Miss Scott Evans …
  • Published[London : Printed at the Philanthropic Reform, St. George’s Fields, by J. Richardson, No. 4 Lambeth-Road, Southwark, 1801]

Catalog Record  & Digital Collection

File 767 P69B N558 1801

Acquired July 2014

Amphitheatre Stork Tavern Yard

Click for larger imageAt head of title: New Burletta!!

  • Title: Amphitheatre Stork Tavern Yard this present Monday, the 29th day of December, 1806, will be presented a selection of entertainments, hitherto unparalleled, as follows : equestrian trials of skill, by the Youthful Indian and Young Saunders, Clown to the equestrian Departments …An entire new burletta (written by Mr. Barrett) The female jockey …  A grand piece of horsemanship call The sport of the Ring …
  • Published: Birmingham : Wilks & Grafton, Printers (Commercial Herald Office), High Street, [1806].

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

Acquired May 2012

Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden, this present Wednesday, January 13, 1796…

Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden, this present Wednesday, January 13, 1796...

  • Title: Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden, this present Wednesday, January 13, 1796 will be presented a new drama, in three acts, called The days of yore … : before the new play will be performed an opera, in one act, called Arrived at Portsmouth … with (19th time) an entire new operatic pantomime (in two parts) called Merry Sherwood, or, Harlequin Forester …
  • Published: [London : s.n., 1796].

View Catalog Record

Acquired November, 2010 by the Lewis Walpole Library.