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Drawing - Supper Party at the Lyceum
  • Supper Party at the Lyceum
    Finberg, Alexander, Joseph, born 1866 - died 1939
  • Enlarge image

Supper Party at the Lyceum

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    London (drawn)

  • Date:

    1892 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Finberg, Alexander, Joseph, born 1866 - died 1939 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    paint on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sir William Ingram

  • Museum number:

    S.371-2011

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This watercolour sketch is entitled 'Supper Party at the Lyceum'. It shows the Actor/Manager Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) presiding over a dinner party at the Lyceum Theatre, with a wine glass and bottle on the table. A number of gentlemen are seated around the table and to the left of this main image are several head and shoulder sketches labelled 'Some of the Guests'. These head and shoulder images are each annotated with the name of the individual represented and comprise: the famous actor and theatre manager, Mr George Alexander (1858–1918); Irving's leading lady Miss Ellen Terry (1847-1928); the journalist and writer Mr. Joseph Comyns Carr (1849-1916), Mr Choate, The American Ambassador, and the American actor-manager William Gillette.
It was created for publication in an illustrated magazine or newspaper, probably the Penny Illustrated Paper. The image was painted by A.J. Finberg (1866-1939) and is signed with his initials.

Terry and Irving were among the leading stage of the Victorian Era, Irving becoming the first actor to receive a knighthood in 1895. Their on-stage partnership began in 1878 when Irving first engaged Terry as his leading lady. Their first production together was Hamlet and featured Irving in the title role with Terry as Ophelia. They worked together for over twenty years, their final performance at the Lycuem taking place in 1902 when the pair appeared together in a production of the Merchant of Venice. Irving played the role of Shylock and Terry that of Portia. During his management of the Lyceum Theatre Sir Henry Irving became famous for the dinners that he hosted within the Theatre and the guests at these exclusive gatherings included many of the leading artists and figures of the day.

Alexander Joseph Finberg (1866-1939) was born in London in 1866. He studied art at the Lambeth School of Art and in Paris and went on to work for the Graphic and Illustrated London News, and as art critic for several papers including the Manchester Guardian and the Saturday Review.

This item is one of several theatrical drawings from a collection of sketches commissioned from contemporary artists to be printed in illustrated magazines. The collection was donated to the museum by Sir William James Ingram in 1914.

Physical description

Watercolour sketch entitled 'Supper Party at the Lyceum'. It shows the Actor/Manager Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) presiding over a supper party at the Lyceum Theatre. A number of gentlemen are seated around the table and to the left of this main image are several head and shoulder sketches labelled 'Some of the Guests'. These head and shoulder images are each annotated with the name of the individual represented and comprise: Mr. George Alexander; Miss Ellen Terry; Mr. Comyns Carr; Mr. Choate, The American Ambassador, and the American actor-manager William Gillette.

It was created for publication in an illustrated magazine or newspaper, probably the Penny Illustrated Paper. The image was painted by A.J. Finberg (1866-1939) and is signed with his initials.

Place of Origin

London (drawn)

Date

1892 (drawn)

Artist/maker

Finberg, Alexander, Joseph, born 1866 - died 1939 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

paint on paper

Marks and inscriptions

P.I.P., 7 1/4
Handwritten annotation in pencil across the top of the painting

A.J.F.
Artist's signature in ink, at the base of the image

Sir Henry Irving, Mr. Wm Gillette/Supper Party at the Lyceum
Handwritten annotation in black ink at the base of the image

Dimensions

Length: 20.7 cm, Width: 26.6 cm approximate

Object history note

Sir William Ingram (27 October 1847 – 18 December 1924) was a Liberal politician who was elected to, and sat, in the House of Commons on three occassions between 1878 and 1895. He was also the Managing Director of The Illustrated London News from the late 1870s until 1900 and became the proprietor of a number of additional publications including The Sketch and The English Illustrated Magazine.

The Illustrated London News was the world's first illustrated weekly newspaper. Founded by Sir William Ingram’s father, Herbert Ingram, in 1842 the first edition was sold on 14th May 1842 at a cost of sixpence per copy. Building from an original circulation of 26,000 to in excess of 300,000 at its peak, The Illustrated London News remained in print until 2003 and commissioned illustrations from many of the leading artists of the late nineteenth century. Photographs were used alongside illustrations from the late 19th century onwards but illustrations were a major feature of paper until after the end of the First World War.

Historical context note

This sketch was one of a group of prints and pencil and pen and ink sketches donated to the museum in 1914 by Sir William Ingram (1847–1924). Part of this collection was originally donated to the Prints and Drawings Department with the majority later passing to the Theatre and Performance Department. The full collection includes work by a variety of artists amongst whom are: A. J Finberg; Ralph Cleaver; F.V.Poole and Rossi Ashton. Though not all the publications for which they were created are identified the majority of the sketches were commissioned for, and appeared in, The Illustrated London News, The English Illustrated Magazine or The Sketch.

Sir William Ingram became the proprietor of The Illustrated London News in the mid to late 1870s and remained in post until circa 1900 when he was succeeded by his he was succeeded by his son, Bruce Stirling Ingram (1877–1963). He also became the proprietor of The Sketch amongst other papers in which capacity he gave commissions to many leading artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Descriptive line

Painted illustration created for publication in a newspaper/illustrated magazine, probably the Penny Illustrated Paper. It shows a supper party at the Lyceum Theatre. It was painted by the artist A.J. Finberg (1866-1939) and is signed with his initials. Given by Sir William Ingram in 1914.

Materials

Paint; Drawing board

Techniques

Painted

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Drawings; Drinking

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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