Illustrations of the Drama

Posted on 22nd July 2021 by simonbeattie

As I wrote last week, I am currently cataloguing new material for a Theatre list, which will go out next month. I love lithography, and so was particularly interested in researching this, from 1823:

It’s an apparently unrecorded publication: four fine large hand-coloured lithograph portraits of four leading performers of the day, each accompanied by a two-page biography, printed in letterpress, preserved here in the original publisher’s wrappers.  The actors are Edmund Kean, John Liston, John Cooper, and Catherine Stephens, all of them depicted in character: Kean as Othello; Liston as Apollo Belvi in Theodore Hook’s farce Killing no Murder; Cooper as Edgar in King Lear; Stephens as Lucy Bertram in Guy Mannering.

The publisher, William Sheldrick, is listed in Michael Twyman’s Directory of London Lithographic Printers as being active in the 1820s, but I can locate no other book publications produced by him.  The cover here is marked ‘No. 1’, and perhaps further parts followed.  The Harry Beard Collection at the V&A possesses the portraits of Cooper and Stephens as individual prints (as well as the image of Kean as reissued by Dean & Mundy, c.1830), along with three others published by Sheldrick of the actors Robert William Elliston, Sarah West (both dated May 1823), and William Charles Macready (dated December 1823).

If you would like to receive this year’s Theatre list, please do sign up here (click, then scroll down to the bottom of the page for the form).

Posted in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *