Poster advertising The House That Jack Built, or, Harlequin Dame Trot! The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Surrey Theatre, 26 December 1878

Poster
1878 (made)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

By the 1870s pantomimes were firm favourites in England, especially at Christmas time when they started on Boxing Day. Part of their appeal was their spectacular scenery and costumes, and this poster from 1878 promises that William Holland's sixth annual pantomime at the Surrey Theatre, in London's Blackfriar's Road, would be: 'of even greater splendour than hitherto.' William Holland was the manager of the Surrey Theatre from 1873 to 1881.

The poster is illustrated with images of a fairy or Columbine, Harlequin, Clown and Pantaloon - favourite pantomime characters descended from the Italian Commedia dell'Arte that conducted the fun in the second half of a Victorian pantomime. It also features a Christmas goose, ominously standing behind a crossed knife and fork, harbingers of its fate! Goose or beef was the traditional centrepiece of the British Christmas meal before turkey became more popular in more wealthy households in the 19th century, the bird that Charles Dickens chose for Ebenezer Scrooge to give to Bob Cratchit in his 1843 novel A Christmas Carol.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
ink on paper
Brief Description
Poster advertising the Grand Christmas Pantomime at the Surrey Theatre. The House that Jack Built or Harlequin Dame Trot! and the Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, 26th December 1878. Colour lithograph by D & J. Allen, Belfast.
Physical Description
Colour lithograph poster advertising the Grand Christmas Pantomime at the Surrey Theatre, illustrated with images of a fairy or Columbine, Harlequin, Clown, Pantaloon and a Christmas goose behind a crossed knife and fork.



The poster notes the author of the pantomime Joseph Mackay, the scenery by C. Brooke, McLennen and assistants, costumes designed by Sidney Davis, ballets arranged by Paul Vallintine, and the 'whole invented and produced by the stage manager' J.H. Doyne. The cast included Miss Jennie Worrell, Miss Phoebe Don, Miss Katie King (Mrs Arthur Lloyd), Miss Nellie Vane, Miss Rose Garibaldi, Miss Ascot Spiller, Miss Emily Spiller, Miss Nelly Doyll, The Sisters Elliott, Miss Kate Hamilton, Miss Florie Hall, Miss Florie Willis, Miss Annie de Fraine, Mr. Harry Taylor, Mr Arthur Williams, Mr John Fox, Mr Wattie Brunton, Mr George Reeves, Mr Master Abrahams, Mr Albert de Voy, Mr Frank Hinde, Mr G. Canning, and Clown by 'the Great Wattie Hillyard, the Funniest Clown in the World.'
Dimensions
  • Height: 49.5cm
  • Width: 37.7cm
Credit line
Gabrielle Enthoven Collection
Literary References
  • The House that Jack Built
  • Harlequin Dame Trot!
  • the Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
  • The House that Jack Built or Harlequin Dame Trot! and the Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Summary
By the 1870s pantomimes were firm favourites in England, especially at Christmas time when they started on Boxing Day. Part of their appeal was their spectacular scenery and costumes, and this poster from 1878 promises that William Holland's sixth annual pantomime at the Surrey Theatre, in London's Blackfriar's Road, would be: 'of even greater splendour than hitherto.' William Holland was the manager of the Surrey Theatre from 1873 to 1881.



The poster is illustrated with images of a fairy or Columbine, Harlequin, Clown and Pantaloon - favourite pantomime characters descended from the Italian Commedia dell'Arte that conducted the fun in the second half of a Victorian pantomime. It also features a Christmas goose, ominously standing behind a crossed knife and fork, harbingers of its fate! Goose or beef was the traditional centrepiece of the British Christmas meal before turkey became more popular in more wealthy households in the 19th century, the bird that Charles Dickens chose for Ebenezer Scrooge to give to Bob Cratchit in his 1843 novel A Christmas Carol.
Collection
Accession Number
S.16-2010

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record createdApril 21, 2010
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