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Prints - The Destruction of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, by fire on 5th March 1856
  • The Destruction of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, by fire on 5th March 1856
    Read & Co.
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The Destruction of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, by fire on 5th March 1856

  • Object:

    Prints

  • Place of origin:

    London (published)

  • Date:

    8th March 1856 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Read & Co. (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    paper, printing ink, glue or paste, textile, coloured ink

  • Museum number:

    S.2568-1986

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This lithograph is one of two published by Read & Co. in March 1856 depicting the scene during the fire at Covent Garden Theatre on Wednesday 5th March 1856, and the ruins afterwards.

During 1856 the proprietors of Covent Garden leased the theatre to the showman magician Professor John Henry Anderson (1814-1874) who produced a so-called 'Carnival Benefit' there on Monday 3rd March consisting of the farce The Great Gun Trick, the opera La Sonnambula, the drama Time Tries All, the 'squib' What Does He Want?, the melodrama Gilderoy and the pantomime Ye Belle Alliance; or, Harlequin and the Field of the Cloth of Gold, performed by cast members from Covent Garden, Drury Lane and the Stramd theatres. The performances were to last all Monday afternoon and evening, the extravazanza to end in with a grand Masked Ball on Tuesday 4th March. It is said that the proprietor Gye had put a veto on the Masked Ball and only let it go ahead because of the losses that ASnderson had incurred on his 6-week season there.

The Bal-Masqué was an all-night affair and the fire was reported to have been discovered at five to five in the morning when the last bars of God Save the Queen were being played. By 5.30am the roof had fallen in, and hopes of saving anything substantial from the flames had been abandoned. The caption on this print confirms the details: 'On Wednesday March 6, 1856; discovered just at the conclusion of a Bal Masqué given by Professor Anderson, when the Company, rushing to the doors made their escape, and fled into the neighbouring streets for means of conveyance to their respective residences, the grotesqueness of their dresses contrasting strangely with the scene which the neighbourhood presented from so fearful a calamity ocurring at that hour (6 o'clock) of the morning. The loss of property by this sad event is estimated at upward of £250,000.

Physical description

Lithographed print depicting the destruction of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. Print is glued to a piece of textile. Print glued to a paper mount on top of a piece of cloth.

Place of Origin

London (published)

Date

8th March 1856 (published)

Artist/maker

Read & Co. (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

paper, printing ink, glue or paste, textile, coloured ink

Dimensions

Height: 44.5 cm Print size, Width: 56.2 cm Print size

Descriptive line

Lithograph depicting the destruction of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, by fire on 5th March 1856. Published on 8th March 1856 by Read & Co., Johnson Court, Fleet St., London

Materials

Paper; Printing ink; Printing ink; Glue or paste; Textile; Coloured ink

Techniques

Lithograph

Subjects depicted

Subject; Fires; Firefighting

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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