Season Ticket for Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

London, England, AD 1750

Silver ticket for entry to a pleasure garden

From the 1730s to the 1860s Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and other theatre gardens were fashionable places of entertainment and leisure. On summer evenings they were a highly popular place for Londoners and visitors alike to go to experience the illuminations. Music by Handel and other popular operatic composers were performed there by artists from the theatre.

The admission charge to the Gardens was one shilling paid at the entrance, but for regular and wealthy visitors the season ticket system was more economical. The metal ticket changed in design or in material every season and the name and number of the ticket owner was engraved on the back: here, 'Mr Wood, 64', for the season of 1750. Designs on the tickets were in the rococo style with irregular, flowing outlines and floral decoration. One ticket showed a sculpture of Handel which stood in the gardens while others showed the Muses of History, Music and Poetry.

The style of the ticket echoed the rococo decoration of the Gardens. The gardens were fashioned into a theatrical spectacle where the visitors were as much part of the entertainment as the officially hired artists. This extract from an eighteenth-century novel describes one view of the Gardens:

'The diversions of the times are not ill suited to the genius of this incongruous monster, called the public. Give it noise, confusion, glare, and glitter; it has no idea of elegance and propriety... Vauxhall is a composition of baubles, overcharged with paltry ornaments, ill conceived, and poorly executed.'
Tobias Smollett, Humphry Clinker (1771)

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More information

Bibliography

J.D. Hunt, Vauxhall and Londons garden th (Cambridge, Chadwyck and Healey, 1985)

M. Snodin (ed.), Rococo: art and design in Ho-1, exh. cat. (London, 1984)

Dimensions

Height: 43.000 mm
Width: 34.000 mm
Weight: 32.990 g

Museum number

CM J3029

CJE35461

Location

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