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Poster - <i>Richard lll</i> and the pantomime <i>Harlequin Tom Moody, or, Old Towler, the Huntsman and the Goddess Diana</i>
  • Richard lll and the pantomime Harlequin Tom Moody, or, Old Towler, the Huntsman and the Goddess Diana
    Earle, W.
  • Enlarge image

Richard lll and the pantomime Harlequin Tom Moody, or, Old Towler, the Huntsman and the Goddess Diana

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1860 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Earle, W. (artist)
    Brickhill & Greenwood (printers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woodcut and letterpress

  • Credit Line:

    Gabrielle Enthoven Collection

  • Museum number:

    S.3801-2013

  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, Room 106, case WW, shelf EXP

Broadside poster or playbill advertising Richard lll and the pantomime Harlequin Tom Moody, or, Old Towler, the Huntsman and the Goddess Diana, Astley's Circus, 30 January 1860.

Printed in black, red and blue ink with a medley of different letterforms, this playbill for the Farewell Benefit of William Cooke features two dramatic woodcut illustrations by W. Earle, designed to attract patrons. The literate could read all about the attractions, and the illiterate, seeing the images, could ask others when the performance was to take place. The first woodcut, originally published as an engraving in the Illustrated London News to accompany a review, depicts the moment in Act III when Richard's horse, White Surrey, falls at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard is shown mercilessly continues setting about his enemies, two at a time. The second woodcut depicts the comic moment in the equestrian pantomime Harlequin Tom Moody, or Old Towler, the Huntsman and the Goddess Diana when a foxhunt and hounds charge through a shop, complete with shocked shopkeepers, a fainting customer, and a chatting Clown and Pantaloon. Richard III and a comic pantomime on the same bill may seem unusual today but in the mid 19th century it was typical circus fare that ensured overflowing houses and repeat business for the next evening’s offering.

Astley's Circus at this date was an enclosed building, featuring both a stage and a circus ring. The evening's entertainment included equestrian performances in the ring by Alfred Cooke, Alice Maude Cooke, and Emily Cooke as well as by William Cooke himself, and an appearance by the Irish comedian and comic singer, George Hodgson.

Physical description

Broadside typographical poster or playbill printed in blue, red and black, illustrated with two woodcut images, one of Richard lll on horseback and another depicting a scene from the equestrian pantomime Harlequin Tom Moody showing a huntsman and hounds gallop through a shop window knocking over a customer, with Clown and Pantaloon standing by. The playbill lists the 'Grand Productions and Olympic Circle Scenes', including Master Alfred Cooke riding bareback as Mariner Jack, or the Young Middy Afloat; a menage act by Alice Maude Cooke on her white palfrey; 'Enchanting Equitation' by Miss Emily Cooke; 'Superior Illustrations in Riding' by William Cooke on his charger Raven, and John Henry Cooke's 'exciting and unequalled feat of Quadruple Equitation' as Phaeton, the Charioteer of the Sun, executed on 'Four Fiery Coursers'. Also advertising comic conceits in the ring by Messrs Thorne and Sylvester, and the popular Irish comedian George Hodson in his 'Budget of Comicalities' on 30 January 1860 only.

Place of Origin

London (printed)

Date

1860 (printed)

Artist/maker

Earle, W. (artist)
Brickhill & Greenwood (printers)

Materials and Techniques

Woodcut and letterpress

Dimensions

Height: 74.5 cm, Width: 25.4 cm, :

Object history note

Printed in black, red and blue ink with a medley of different letterforms, this playbill for the Farewell Benefit of William Cooke features two dramatic woodcut illustrations by W. Earle designed to attract patrons, especially the illiterate who could ask others when the performance was to take place. The first woodcut, originally published as an engraving in The Illustrated London News to accompany a review, depicts the moment in Act 3 when Richard's horse White Surrey falls at the Battle of Bosworth Fields and Richard mercilessly continues setting about his enemies, two at a time. The second shows the comic moment in the equestrian pantomime Harlequin Tom Moody, or Old Towler, the Huntsman and the Goddess Diana when a foxhunt and Derby Day racehorses and hounds became embroiled in the pantomime’s Harlequinade, complete with shocked shopkeepers, a fainting customer, and a chatting Clown and Pantaloon. Richard III and a comic pantomime on the same bill may seem unusual today but in the mid nineteenth century it was typical circus fare that ensured overflowing houses and repeat business for the next evening’s offering.

Astley's Circus at this date was an enclosed building featuring both a stage and a circus ring. The evening's entertainment was a Farewell Benefit in honour of William Cooke and featured equestrian performances in the ring by Alfred Cooke, Alice Maude Cooke, and Emily Cooke as well as William Cooke himself, as well as an appearance by the Irish comedian and comic singer George Hodgson.

Descriptive line

Broadside poster or playbill advertising Richard lll and the pantomime Harlequin Tom Moody, or, Old Towler, the Huntsman and the Goddess Diana, the equestrian and dramatic attractions for the Farewell Benefit of Mr. William Cooke, Astley's Circus, 30 January 1860. Also advertising Richard lll and the comic pantomime on Tuesday, 31 January 1860 and during the week, and matinee performances of pantomime and horsemanship on 4 and 11 February 1860. Woodcut and letterpress, featuring two woodcuts by W. Earle. Printed by Brickhill & Greenwood, 1860

Labels and date

An equestrian version of Richard III and a comic pantomime with race horses was typical of the eclectic programmes that made Astley’s Circus so popular. By 1860, Astley’s was an enclosed building featuring a circus ring and a stage. The poster advertises the farewell benefit performance of William Cooke, the popular equestrian, making his final appearance here on his horse Raven. [16/08/2016]

Materials

Printing ink; Paper

Techniques

Woodcut; Letterpress printing

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Theatre; Posters; Advertising

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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