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Print Collection

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (printed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1890 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Siegmund Hildesheimer & Co. (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the British Theatre Museum Association

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Scraps first appeared in the early 19th century as black-and-white engravings, and were later coloured by hand. By the 1820s they had become more elaborate and sometimes embossed, and within a decade both the printing and embossing processes were automated. They were colour printed by chromolithography, and coated with a gelatine and gum layer to give them a gloss finish. After being embossed they were die-cut and put through a stamping press to cut away the unwanted areas of paper, leaving the individual images connected by small strips, often bearing the name or initials of the maker.

Scraps became extremely popular in Victorian England to be cut out by adults or children and stuck into albums, on to screens, or used for decorating greetings cards. This scrap is one of a set of twelve produced by Signumd Hildesheimer & Company depicting Shakespearean characters played by popular actors. They were sold in packs costing one shilling, titled Characters from Shakespeare. A Series of Twelve Relief Scraps. Wilson Barrett and Mary Eastlake, seen here as Ophelia and Hamlet, starred in Hamlet at London's Princess's Theatre, 18 October 1884.

Physical description

Multicoloured paper scrap mounted on black paper depicting Mary Eastlake as Ophelia with flowers in her hair and wearing a long, tight-fitting white dress with white cord sash, holding a spring of flowers, standing on the left of Wilson Barrett as Hamlet, who is dressed in a blue doublet and hose and tights. To the left of Hamlet's head is printed some of the dialogue from Hamlet with the attribution: 'HAMLET Act IV Scene 5.' The scrap has been cut from its original sheet which also gave the name of the series, the number of the item and the monogram of the printer.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (printed)


ca. 1890 (printed)


Siegmund Hildesheimer & Co. (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Printed paper

Marks and inscriptions

Monogram, entwined letters S.H & Co., printed in gold
Monogram of Siegmund Hildesheimer & Co,. London, New York & Manchester, 1888-1927.


Height: 14.8 cm maximum, Width: 12.3 cm maximum

Object history note

Mary Eastlake and Wilson Barrett appeared in Hamlet at the Princess's Theatre, 16 October 1884.

Descriptive line

Shakespearean characters paper scrap depicting Wilson Barrett (1846-1904) as Hamlet and Mary Eastlake as Ophelia in Hamlet Act IV, scene 5, Princess's Theatre, 16 October 1884. Chromolithograph printed by Siegmund Hildesheimer & Co., ca.1890


Paper; Printing ink


Chromolithography; Die cutting


Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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