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Silk programme

Silk programme

  • Place of origin:

    Glasgow (Printed)

  • Date:

    1893 (Printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Crockett & Co. (Printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed silk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Silk and satin programmes were frequently produced during the 19th century to mark special occasions at the theatre, and although not a programme, a photograph of Vesta Tilley was printed on silk for this souvenir. It was produced for Vesta Tilley's Benefit at the Theatre Royal Glasgow on Friday 17th February 1893, the last day of a twelve-week run of Dick Whittington in which she starred in the title role.

Vesta Tilley (1864-1952) was the stage name of Matilda Alice Powles, born in Worcester, who began her stage career aged five when her father became a music-hall chairman. She made her name as The Great Little Tilley in a solo singing and dancing act, and first appeared in London in 1874, after changing her stage name to Vesta Tilley and adding a cross-dressing to her act in which she was always immaculately turned out as a man. By the 1890s she was the highest paid female performer in Great Britain, and this Benefit came on She reired in 1920 after a hugely succesful farewell tour and after her last performance at the London Coliseum received a forty-minute standing ovation

Physical description

Silk sheet fringed with an integral fringe on each long side, printed in dark pink ink with a lithographic image of the Variety performer Vesta Tilley in a costume, in profile looking to her left, within a roundel decorated with flowers and ribbon swags and the name Vesta Tillye below. 'SOUVENIR' is above the roundel and 'Vesta Tilley. Benefit Friday 17th Feby 1893' . Theatre Royal Glasgow'below. The name of the printer appears in small typeface lower right.

Place of Origin

Glasgow (Printed)


1893 (Printed)


Crockett & Co. (Printer)

Materials and Techniques

Printed silk


Height: 26.7 cm, Width: 16.5 cm approximately, excluding fringe, Width: 19.5 cm approximately, including fringe

Object history note

The benefit for Vesta Tilley took place on her last night playing the title role in Dick Whitrtington at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow which was ending a successful 12-week run.

Descriptive line

Silk souvenir of the Benefit Performance by Vesta Tilley at the Glasgow Theatre Royal, 17 February 1893.


Silk; Printing ink


Entertainment & Leisure; Scotland


Theatre and Performance Collection

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