Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Set design
  • Set design
    Loutherbourg, Philip James de, born 1740 - died 1812
  • Enlarge image

Set design

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1772 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Loutherbourg, Philip James de, born 1740 - died 1812 (theatre designers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink, and wash on paper, cut out and laid down on card mount

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Set design for Act V Scene 2 of Richard III. Landscape with, in foreground, rocks and bushes to left and cloths draped on trees and abandoned cart to right; in middle distance, centre, a stone bridge, with tents beyond. Inscribed on mount.

Place of Origin

London, England (made)


ca. 1772 (drawn)


Loutherbourg, Philip James de, born 1740 - died 1812 (theatre designers)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink, and wash on paper, cut out and laid down on card mount

Marks and inscriptions

'Original sketches made for "Richard the 3rd" by de Loutherbourg for Mr Garrick - the first practical bridge. Presented to H. Irving Esq by his old friend CR July 1874'


Height: 228 mm, Width: 308 mm

Object history note

These collage sketches, reproduced in "The Magazine of Art", had disappeared until a few years ago when the Theatre Museum acquired them. The three sketches are made of small drawings cut out and pasted on to a plain background. Dr. Richard Southern, working from the photographs in "The Magazine of Art", thought these fragments had been assembled wrongly and reconstructed them into two scenes - one ' a rocky country with a repaired bridge in the middle distance ' and the other ' a camp scene with the skycloth missing.' Drawings of his reconstructions are reproduced in 'Shakespeare and the Artist', but further research is needed on these fragmentary sketches.

David Garrick saw that de Loutherbourg 'had the sum-total of Continental scenic resources in his ken' and employed him as his designer at Drury Lane. The innovations he brought to the theatre were the introduction of built pieces of scenery such as the bridge shown here and new methods of lighting the set with border battens so that the whole stage was lit, which meant that the actor was not forced to perform down stage in order to be seen. He also invented machines for making sound effects such as the crack of thunder, the boom of cannon and the lapping of waves. as a result he was the first to bring a kind of naturalism into the theatre.

Alexander Schouvaloff

This set design was possibly executed for a production of William Shakespeare's play "King Richard III" (adapted by Colley Cibber) by David Garrick at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 30th May 1772.

Descriptive line

Set design by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg for Act V Scene 2 of the play "Richard III", possibly for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, May 30th 1772

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Schouvaloff, Alexander, "Theatre on Paper", The Drawing Center (New York, 1990) pp. 58-61
Lawrence, W.J. "The Pioneers of Modern English Stage-Mounting: Phillipe (sic) Jacques de Loutherbourg, R. A.", The Magazine of Art, (London, 1895), pp. 172-7, ill. (a) p. 175, 177, 176
Rosenfeld, Sybil, "Theatre Notebook", vol. xix, (London, 1964-5), pp. 110-11
Merchant, Moelwyn, "Shakespeare and the Artist", (London, 1959), pp. 60-4

Exhibition History

Gainsborough's Cottage Door (The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens 11/02/2006-14/05/2006)
Gainsborough's Cottage Door (Yale Center for British Art 06/10/2005-30/12/2005)
Theatre on Paper (The Drawing Center, Museum for the Study & Exhibition of Drawings 07/04/1990-21/07/1990)

Associated names

Shakespeare, William; Garrick, David

Production Note

Reason For Production: Commission


Ink; Card; Paper (fiber product)


Painted; Drawn; Wash technique

Production Type


Collection code


Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.