A female Romeo

A female Romeo

19th August 2021

One of the items in my recent Theatre list is this playbill, which advertises an important performance of Romeo and Juliet in 1832. If you look closely, you will see that the role of Romeo, ‘for this night only’, was taken by Ellen Tree (1805–1880; Kean as she subsequently became, on her marriage to the […]

The Cambridge Greek Play

The Cambridge Greek Play

12th August 2021

Yesterday I published my annual summer Theatre list, and I thought I would share here details of one of the items featured. It is a series of etchings published to commemorate the first Cambridge Greek Play, from 1883. ‘The tradition of performing a Greek play in Cambridge goes back to 1882, when the very first […]

Buckinghamshire interest

Buckinghamshire interest

28th July 2021

I was born and bred in Buckinghamshire (tomorrow in fact will be Buckinghamshire Day) and my family, on my mother’s side, has roots in the county going back well into the eighteenth century, if not earlier. So, as one might imagine, I have an interest in books relating to the county. I have written before […]

Illustrations of the Drama

Illustrations of the Drama

22nd July 2021

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 […]

American literature on the London stage

American literature on the London stage

15th July 2021

I wrote once, years ago, about Washington Irving in Germany. I’ve always been interested in finding material that connects two different countries, two different cultures, through literature. Here’s another, and with an added theatrical dimension: This double bill from 1844 features Shakespeare alongside Irving on the London stage, The Miser’s Well being based on a […]

Gilty pleasures

Gilty pleasures

6th July 2021

The following post was originally written for Engelsberg Ideas. In his autobiography, Dichtung und Wahrheit, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe reminisced about his childhood in Frankfurt: ‘since the earliest times, buyers and sellers had thronged around the Bartholomäuskirche… The stalls of the so-called Pfarreisen were very important to us children and we would come along with fistfuls of money to buy […]