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Playbill - Illustrated playbill advertising the programme at the Bower Saloon, 31 May 1853
  • Illustrated playbill advertising the programme at the Bower Saloon, 31 May 1853
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Illustrated playbill advertising the programme at the Bower Saloon, 31 May 1853

  • Object:

    Playbill

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1853 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (printers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printing ink on paper; letterpress and woodcut coloured by hand

  • Credit Line:

    Gabrielle Enthoven Collection

  • Museum number:

    S.318-2016

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Bower Saloon in London's Stangate Street, Lambeth, was originally attached to the Duke's Tavern, and operated as a place of entertainment from 1837 until 1878. During the 1850s when owned by Victor Hazelton, it made its name for the production of melodramas starring dogs. This playbill features two woodcut image, which were particularly good for attracting the attention of passers-by, especially those who couldn't read. The clientele of the Bower Saloon, which advertised itself as 'the only theatre for the working classes', would have included many of those, attracted by for low ticket prices, action-packed presentations including melodrama, farce and nautical drama, and the availability of alcohol, the sale of which was a popular feature of 19th century theatres like the Bower that styled themselves as saloons rather than theatres.

Stage plays starring dogs had been successful 19th century fare since December 1803, when Frederick Reynolds' play The Caravan, or the Driver and His Dog opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The scene when Carlo the Newfoundland dog leapt into an artificial lake on stage to rescue a child from drowning caused a sensation, and spawned specially written dog dramas, the most famous of which, Le Chien de Montargis, ou la Forêt de Bondy, based on an old French legend, premiered in Paris in 1814. Translated as The Dog of Montargis, or the Forest of Bondy, the play became one of the staple dog dramas presented at the Bower Saloon. On this occasion both melodramas featured dogs, because the evening was for the benefit of Mr. Lamb who owned the canine stars Nero and Carlo. The naming of one of his dogs as Carlo would have been a deliberate echo of the more famous eponymous dog earlier in the century.

Physical description

Woodcut and letterpress poster printed in red and black ink on white paper, with two woodcuts coloured by hand, advertising the programme for the Bower Saloon for the evening of 31st May 1853 when it was managed by Mr. Biddles. The evening was for the Benefit of Mr. T. Lamb and comprised Richard Coeur de Lion, or, the Dog of the Standard based on Sir Walter Scott's Tales of the Crusaders starring Mr. Crauford as Richard Coeur de Lion, with Mr. Byron, Mr. Murray, Mr. Willis, Mr. Marchant, Mr. T. Lamb, Mr. Huntley, Mr. Connor, Mr. Baker, Mr. W. Whitely, Mr. Burroughs. Miss C. Biddles, Mr. Stanley, Miss A. Biddles, Mrs. Wood, Miss Harley, and the dog Carlo; followed by Ceda, the inimitable American Dancer, with Mr. R. Gambia the 'renowned banjoist' in their Ethiopian Entertainment, followed by a dance from Miss Wright, and the 'serio-comic ballet' The Sailor's Progress, or, a Night in California, featuring Mr. Whitely, Mr. Huntley, Mr. Lamb, Miss Wood and Mr. Lamb's dogs Nero and Carlo. Also appearing were the comic singers Mr. W. Schofield with his 'wonderful cannonized gun' and Mr. W.H. Sharpe.

Place of Origin

London (printed)

Date

1853 (printed)

Artist/maker

Unknown (printers)

Materials and Techniques

Printing ink on paper; letterpress and woodcut coloured by hand

Dimensions

Height: 75.3 cm, Width: 27.3 cm

Descriptive line

Illustrated playbill advertising the programme at the Bower Saloon, 31 May 1853. Woodcut and letterpress

Materials

Paper; Printing ink; Watercolour

Techniques

Letterpress printing; Woodcut

Categories

Advertising; Entertainment & Leisure; Melodrama; Dance

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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