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Silk programme

Silk programme

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1877 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Antony Collieu on behalf of Charles Lepper.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Silk and satin theatre playbills and programmes were produced from the 18th century onwards, to commemorate special evenings at the theatre. Most theatres in the 19th century would have had some made to mark grand openings or milestone performances. By the end of the First World War however the practice had generally died out, only being revived very occasionally, more often at London's opera houses than any other theatres.

This silk was produced for the revival of Dorothy's Stratagem at the Criterion Theatre, 12 March 1877. The play had originally opened there on 23 December 1876. The Criterion, the small underground theatre at Piccadilly Circus which opened in March 1874, became known as one of London's leading theatres for light comedy. Charles Wyndham (1837-1919), who starred in The Great Divorce Case, was associated with the theatre for over 20 years. He made his name at London's Royalty Theatre in a burlesque comedy in 1866, and appeared at the Criterion in December 1875 in the comedy Brighton. By Easter 1876 he was a profit-sharing partner in the Criterion, leased by Alexander Henderson. Wyndham was in his element in risqué farces, often adapted from French originals, including The Great Divorce Case adapted by Clement Scott and Arthur Matthison (alias Doe and Roe) from Le Procès Veraudieux, and W.S. Gilbert's On Bail. This programme also advertises the farce Masks which opened on 2 April 1877 as The Pink Dominos, adapted by James Albery from the French play Les Dominos Roses by Messrs. Hennequin and Delacour; and the burlesque Oxygen, or, Gas in Burlesque Metre which opened on 31 March 1877 at Henderson's other theatre, the Folly, starring his wife, the burlesque star Lydia Thompson.

Physical description

Silk programme on cream silk with narrow cream fringe attached, printed in black typography in landscape format with gold borders decorated with gold foliate pattern at the corners, headed 'CRITERION THEATRE, Lessee and Manager Mr. Alex Henderson. CHARLES WYNDHAM And the ENTIRE COMPANY' EVERY EVENING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE'. The programme gives the cast of Dorothy's Stratagem by J. Mortimer and The Great Divorce Case by John Doe and Richard Roe. It also advertises the forthcoming production of Masks by James Albery at the Criterion Theatre 'on Easter Monday' and Oxygen, or, Gas in Burlesque Metre featuring 'Miss Lydia Thompson and Augmented Company at the Folly Theatre 'at Easter'. Undated.

Place of Origin

London (printed)


1877 (printed)


Unknown (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Printed silk


Height: 29.0 cm including fringe, Width: 38.7 cm including fringe

Object history note

Dorothy's Stratagem featured Mr. Ashley as Sir Frederick Selwyn, Mr. H. Standing as Arthur Selwyn, Mr. Charles Tritton as Reginald Brooke, Mr. Ridley as Christopher, Miss Myra Holme as Florence Mowbray, Miss Eastlake as Dorothy Fielding, Miss Edith Bruce as Rose, and Miss Maria Davis as Mrs. Bunch.

The Great Divorce Case by John Doe and John Roe (Clement Scott and Arthur Matthison) featured Mr. Charles Wyndham as Geoffrey Gordon, Mr. Edward Righton as Wetherby Grandison, Mr. J. Clarke as Samuel Pilkie, Mr. H. Standing as Sir Francis Hamerton, Mr. Anderson as the Detective, Mr. Wyatt as Clerk of the Hotel, Miss Nelly Bromley as Mrs. Graham, Miss Naudaine as Miss Grace, Miss Eastlake as Mrs. Gordon, Miss Myra Holme as Lady Hamerton, Miss Harriet Coveney as Mrs. Joseph Sharp, Miss Edith Bruce as Miss Parker, Miss Maria Davis as Sarah and Miss Hayes as Caroline.

Descriptive line

Silk programme for Dorothy's Stratagem by J. Mortimer and The Great Divorce Case by John Doe and Richard Doe (Clement Scott and Arthur Matthison), starring Charles Wyndham as Geoffrey Gordon, with Nelly Bromley as Mrs. Graham, Criterion Theatre, 12 March 1877. Letterpress on silk.


Ink; Silk; Metallic thread; Silk (textile)




Entertainment & Leisure; Textiles


Theatre and Performance Collection

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