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Print - H Beard Print Collection
  • H Beard Print Collection
    Hogarth, William, born 1697 - died 10
  • Enlarge image

H Beard Print Collection

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (printed)

  • Date:

    1811 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hogarth, William, born 1697 - died 10 (engravers (printmakers))
    Wilkinson, Robert (printers (people))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Harry R. Beard Collection, given by Isobel Beard

  • Museum number:

    S.45-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This satirical print, from the workshop of William Hogarth, was made after the opening of Covent Garden theatre in 1732. Actor-manager John Rich moved from his theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields which he had been regularly selling out with his pantomime performances. He had lately had an even greater triumph with a musical play, The Beggar's Opera by John Gay.

The scene shows a carriage arriving in Covent Garden, with a procession moving towards the newly opened Theatre Royal. In the carriage is John Rich, dressed as the performing dog that appeared in his version of Perseus and Andromeda. Rich was famous for playing the character of Harlequin in his productions, which combined classical subjects with pantomime to popular effect. Hogarth’s low opinion of the quality of Rich’s shows is indicated in this depiction of him as a dalmatian. John Gay follows, carried by a porter, while the crowd shouts 'Rich for ever'. The poem below the print criticises other followers in the parade, actors from the 18th century popular stage including James Quin.

Physical description

Pictorial and typographic print. Image shows a procession in Covent Garden heading towards the new Theatre Royal. Below the image is a poem.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (printed)

Date

1811 (printed)

Artist/maker

Hogarth, William, born 1697 - died 10 (engravers (printmakers))
Wilkinson, Robert (printers (people))

Materials and Techniques

Engraving on paper

Dimensions

Height: 26 cm, Width: 33.5 cm

Descriptive line

Etching. Rich's Glory or his Triumphant Entry into Covent Garden. A procession crossing the Covent Garden piazza and entering the theatre. The theatre manager, John Rich, represented as a dog, rides in a carriage driven by Harlequin and pulled by satyrs. Beneath is a poem.

Labels and date

The Beggar’s Opera

The Beggar’s Opera was a hugely successful show, making its author and producer wealthy men. Punning on the names of writer Gay and producer Rich, contemporaries noted that it made ‘Rich gay and Gay rich’.

It proved so popular with audiences that it became the most successful production of the 18th century and Rich built Covent Garden theatre with the profits. In the print seen here, Rich’s actors are carrying him into his new theatre.

Opera by John Gay, music by John Christopher Pepusch, 1728
Produced by John Rich
Theatre Royal, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London

Printed libretto with music
3rd edition
1728
Published by John Watts
Printed at Wild Court, London
Museum no. PR3479.B6

Rich’s Glory or his Triumphant Entry into Covent Garden
1811
Theatre Royal Covent Garden
Engraving
By the workshop of William Hogarth (1697–1764)
Printed by Robert Wilkinson
Harry R. Beard Collection, given by Isobel Beard
Museum no. S.45-2008
[March 2009 - September 2013]

Materials

Paper; Ink

Techniques

Engraving

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Prints

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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