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  • Place of origin:

    London (drawn)

  • Date:

    1898-1899 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Leno, Dan (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gabrielle Enthoven Collection

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This self-portrait sketch of the much-loved music hall star Dan Leno (1860-1904) was probably originally a page from an autograph album. It depicts Leno as Abdullah, the captain of the forty thieves, in the pantomime The Forty Thieves by J. Hickory Wood and Arthur Collins, with music by J. Glover, which opened at Drury Lane Theatre on Boxing Day, 1898.

Dan Leno was born George Galvin in London, the son of the music hall singers known as Mr and Mrs Wilde. After his father's death, his mother married William Grant whose stage name was Leno, and Dan Leno appeared from the age of four with his brother Jack and his uncle Johnny Danvers, dancing in public houses all over England. By the age of 18 Dan was a champion clog-dancer and was engaged by George Conquest with Danvers for pantomime at London's Surrey Theatre. In 1889 he went to Drury Lane Theatre where he excelled as pantomime Dame for several years. He continued to appear in music hall where he specialised in long rambling anecdotes of incidents involving himself and his family. In 1901 he performed for King Edward VII at Sandringham, after which he was dubbed 'the King's Jester'.

Physical description

Pen and ink sketch on paper which may have been a page torn from an autograph album. Dan Leno's head wearing a tall conical hat is sketched top left, inscribed to its left: 'I am the Captain of the 40' and inscribed below the image: 'Yours truly Dan Leno'

Place of Origin

London (drawn)


1898-1899 (drawn)


Leno, Dan (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

I am the Captain of the 40.
Yours truly Dan Leno


Height: 14.5 cm, Width: 11.4 cm

Descriptive line

Dan Leno as Captain of the Forty Thieves in The Forty Thieves, Drury Lane Theatre, 26 December 1898. Pen and ink self-portrait, probably from an autograph album.


Ink; Paper


Drawn; Written


Entertainment & Leisure; Drawings


Theatre and Performance Collection

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