Not currently on display at the V&A

Silk Playbill

1884 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This silk playbill was printed for a matinée performance at the Lyceum Theatre, 12 February 1884, of two plays by W.S.Gilbert. Silk playbills were often issued in the 19th century for special evenings at the theatre and this was one of two issued for this performance, identical apart from the colours of the print and the fringe. They may have been printed in different colours for the different parts of the theatre, but the playbills themselves give no clue to why they were printed in alternative colours.

The Lyceum was Irving's theatre at the time, but as he was on tour in America in the winter and spring of 1883 to 1884, Charles Abud was the acting manager. W.S.Gilbert was best known by 1884 for the operas he had written with Sullivan, although their most famous work The Mikado was not produced until 1885. Pygmalion & Galatea was a revival, originally seen at the Haymarket Theatre in 1871, but this was the first production of Comedy & Tragedy, which had opened at the Lyceum on 26th January. The playbill shows that Gilbert was the director for both of his plays at the Lyceum which starred the popular American actress Mary Anderson.


Object details
Category
Object type
Materials and techniques
Printed silk
Brief description
Silk playbill for the matinée performance of Pygmalion & Galatea and Comedy and Tragedy by W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911), Lyceum Theatre, 12 February 1884.
Physical description
Cream silk playbill printed in brown typeface edged with a gold silk fringe, for the matinée performance of 'Pygmalion and Galatea' and 'Comedy and Tragedy', Lyceum Theatre, 12 February 1884. Headed 'Royal Lyceum Theatre Sole Lessee - Mr. Henry Irving'
Dimensions
  • Including fringe height: 26.5cm
  • Excluding fringe height: 24.3cm
  • Including fringe width: 20.0cm
  • Excluding fringe width: 17.3cm
Marks and inscriptions
Credit line
Given by Allan C. Squire
Object history
One of two silk playbills printed in different colours but issued for the same matinée at the Lyceum Theatre, a double bill of two plays by W.S. Gilbert Pygmalion & Galatea and Comedy and Tragedy, both directed by W.S. Gilbert. Pygmalion & Galatea featured J.H. Barnes as Pygmalion, F.H. Macklin as Leucippe, H. Kemble as Chrysos, E.T. March as Agesimos, Arthur Lewis as Mimos, Amy Roselle as Cynisca, Arthur Stirling as Daphne, Annie Rose as Myrine and Mary Anderson as Galatea. Comedy and Tragedy included J.H. Barnes as the Duc D'Orléons, George Alexander as D'Aulnay, Arthur Lewis as De la Ferté and Mary Anderson as Clarice.
Association
Summary
This silk playbill was printed for a matinée performance at the Lyceum Theatre, 12 February 1884, of two plays by W.S.Gilbert. Silk playbills were often issued in the 19th century for special evenings at the theatre and this was one of two issued for this performance, identical apart from the colours of the print and the fringe. They may have been printed in different colours for the different parts of the theatre, but the playbills themselves give no clue to why they were printed in alternative colours.



The Lyceum was Irving's theatre at the time, but as he was on tour in America in the winter and spring of 1883 to 1884, Charles Abud was the acting manager. W.S.Gilbert was best known by 1884 for the operas he had written with Sullivan, although their most famous work The Mikado was not produced until 1885. Pygmalion & Galatea was a revival, originally seen at the Haymarket Theatre in 1871, but this was the first production of Comedy & Tragedy, which had opened at the Lyceum on 26th January. The playbill shows that Gilbert was the director for both of his plays at the Lyceum which starred the popular American actress Mary Anderson.
Collection
Accession number
S.63-2005

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Record createdSeptember 15, 2005
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