- Museum number
- Object: Management-or-Butts & Hogsheads.
Plate from the 'Scourge', iv. Illustration to 'The two first chapters of the Book of Drury, and of Acts of Samuel' (in biblical language), pp. 431-5. A satire on the management of the new theatre, the scene being the stage framed by two tiers of stage-boxes. In the centre is a huge wooden tub, 'New Drury Brewing Vat', supported on the backs of two men on hands and knees. One (left) rests his hand on a paper: 'Arnolds Swiss Banditti', showing he is Samuel James Arnold; the other similarly displays 'Raymonds Life of Dermody', showing he is James Grant Raymond. Whitbread stands on a ladder stirring the frothing contents of the vat with an oar-shaped implement, and throwing in papers: 'Expectations', 'Subscriptions', 'Promises' [twice]. Clouds rise from the vat and reach Apollo, who floats in front of the centre of the festooned curtain, with irradiated head and holding his lyre. He wears draperies above breeches and spurred top-boots, and flees from the fumes of the vat. At the bottom of the vat (right) is a tap beneath which stands a bucket inscribed 'For Profits'. John Bull (not named) sits on the ground, disconsolately watching the tap, from which nothing flows; he says: "Profits!!!! D—me if any will come." The reason for this is that Sheridan, supported on the back of his son Tom, intercepts them. Both use gimlets to puncture the cask; Sheridan holds a tankard to collect the frothing liquor, inscribed '4000 Pr Anm' from his hole; the other catches '1000 Pr Anm' in his mouth.
In the foreground on the right are two couples. The stout and elderly Duke of Norfolk, wearing a star, dressed as Hamlet with his arm round the shoulders of a plain and middle-aged actress who holds a playbill: 'Hamlet the Du[ke] of Norfolk Ophelia Miss Tidswell'. He says: "Oh! that this too, too solid flesh would melt!" She answers (misquoting 'Richard III'): "Jocky of Norfolk be not so bold." Beside them (right) a tall thin actor (Elliston) addresses a stout lady on whose posterior is a playbill: 'The Wonder Don Felix Mr Elliston Isabella [i.e. Albinia] Countess of Buck'. She has whiskers, and is addressed by Elliston (adapting, not Mrs. Centlivre's play, but 'The Critic'): "O! Whiskeranda Whiskeranda O." Behind Miss Tidswell Lord Holland, a star on his coat, stands on a pile of 'Rejected Addresses', with others tucked under his left arm, and in his left hand a paper: 'Lord B—s Add[ress]'. Above his head a notice is pinned to a column: 'A Map of Holland'. He turns to a thin man with a deformed right leg, saying, "Well! well! you voted with us B. the prize shall be Yours"; Byron is capering in dismay at a heavy battering-ram, inscribed 'Monologue', which strikes his posterior, the point of contact being an ass's head with wings for ears. He exclaims: "Stop! good Doctor! one Murder is enough I do not wish to suffer the same fate with Lucretius." Two men hold the ram, one (Busby) is elderly; his son, behind him, is ineffectively foppish, and says: "Let us cram it down John Bulls Throat Father."
On the extreme left, a pendant to the group of Norfolk and Elliston, is a throne-like settee with an ornate canopy. On this are seated a tall emaciated old man and a youngish woman with much-exposed breasts, who holds a melon to which she points with an imperative gesture. From the man's pocket hangs a paper: 'Mellon payable at Coutts', showing that they are Coutts and Harriet Mellon. In front of them, grinning and posturing, stands Skeflington, pointing at the lady, and displaying to Coutts a paper inscribed 'The Vertious Cortezan or generous Cut Throat MS'. At his feet is a paper, 'The Sleeping Beauty', his most popular play, see No. 10455. Near them, a pendant to Lord Holland and Byron, stands a man in flamboyant military uniform, a pen behind his ear, with his arm round a young woman, evidently Mary Orger. He holds a paper inscribed 'Highgate Tunnel' [showing that he is Lascelles Smith, whose after-piece of that name was played 2 July 1812 by the Drury Lane company], and tramples on another inscribed 'Rejected Addresses'. Behind them shuffles a disconsolate man holding a pair of pattens in one hand, and a book, 'Orgers Ovid', in the other; under his arm is an umbrella. He exclaims: "Oh! my Vife my Vife." The pair are playing the parts of Major Sturgeon and Mrs. Sneak (with Orger as Jerry Sneak, the henpecked husband) in Foote's 'Mayor of Garratt'. Behind him are two casks inscribed respectively 'Fixture Dimond Small Beer' and 'Fixture Lewis's Gun Powder'.
At the back of the stage (left) is a high platform, on which is a tall post supporting a notice headed 'New Regulations'; these are numbered from '1' to '6' and signed 'H. Combe.' Combe himself, wearing his alderman's gown and chain, stands at the foot of the post, kicking off the platform bottles inscribed 'Choice Spirits'; he says: "What have these to do here?" He holds a tray of candles and candle-ends, which he is distributing to a group of actors of the barnstorming type: a short shambling man in Roman armour, a tall lean and elderly actor, a fat woman wearing a spiky crown, a man in Turkish costume, and an ugly dwarfish infant in Highland dress, reminiscent of the Roscius era, see No. 10318, &c. They eagerly hold out their hands for the candles (part of their meagre pay). Combe is said to have issued 'New Regulations' and hired provincial actors. On the opposite side of the stage is a high cliff on which is a tomb topped by an urn and emblems of Tragedy and Comedy; the inscription: 'Hic Jacet Georgius Cook—Heu Heu Heu'. A woman, 'the genius of the drama', weeps for the death of her favourite.
1 December 1812.
- Production date
Height: 300 millimetres
Width: 490 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
The proscenium is realistically depicted, with the two stage-boxes on each side above the 'two very fine and large lamps, with tripods on triangular pedestals', supporting 'a circle of small burners on the principle of Bartons lamps'. On each side is 'a massy Corinthian column of verd antique'. 'Europ. Mag.' lxii. 258*. From brackets above the upper stage-boxes dangle two women, in the last stage of death by strangulation: one (left), grotesque, ugly, and elderly, is Tragedy, holding cup and dagger, the other (right), young and comely, is Comedy. The lower stage-boxes are occupied. On the left, in the shadowy recesses of the box, the Prince Regent seems to be indicated, kissing Lady Hertford. On the right is a fashionably dressed man wearing spectacles and watching the performers.
A satire on the management of Drury Lane, and on the opening of the new theatre on 10 Oct. Whitbread was chairman of the Committee for rebuilding, see No. 11936, &c,. and of the Committee of Management, or 'Committee of Taste'. The two managers, under the Committee, were Arnold, see No. 11772 (his 'The Maniac, or Swiss Banditti', was first played 13 Mar. 1810; the Committee announced, 7 Dec. 1812, that they had secured his sendees as principal manager), and Raymond, acting-manager, author of a 'Life' (1806) of the Irish poet Thomas Dermody. For the sums paid to Sheridan and his family for their interest in the patent see No. 11767. The Committee advertised on 14 Aug. a competition for a prologue to be spoken on the opening night, the entries to be anonymous, the pseudonym to be identified only in the case of the successful competitor; the selection committee was understood to be Whitbread, Lord Holland, and Combe. Over a hundred were sent in, including one by Whitbread, all were rejected, and Byron was asked to supply a prologue, which he did in consultation with Lord Holland. He had made his first speech in the Lords on 27 Feb. 1812 on information supplied by Holland. There was a storm of protest from the competitors. The Address was spoken by Elliston who played Hamlet on the opening night. Byron writes (17 Oct.) of 'my "Address" which has been murdered (I hear) in the delivery, and mauled I see in the newspapers'. 'Corr.', ed. Murray, 1922, i. 91. On 14 Oct. an unknown who proved to be G. F. Busby got on the stage from the pit and attempted to address the audience, but was hustled off by police officers: on 15 Oct. Dr. Busby ('Mus. Doc.') addressed the House from a box in the third tier, after the comedy, and again after the farce, amid much confusion, on the claims of the authors of the rejected addresses; he finally got their leave for his son to speak the address prepared by himself. He was removed by Bow Street officers, but recaptured and reinstated by the audience, assuring them they would now hear 'such a monologue as they had seldom heard'. His son then appeared and recited, but his weak voice was inaudible. Busby published his Address next day in the 'Morning Chronicle'. Byron parodied it anonymously in his 'Parenthetical Address by Dr. Plagiary, to be recited in an inaudible voice by his Son' ('Morn. Chron.', 23 Oct.). The Smiths' 'Rejected Addresses' [The 18th edition, 1833, was illustrated by G. Cruikshank. (Reid, 3948-53.)] was published 12 Oct. 1812, Busby being one of the parodied. Subsequently, 'The Genuine Rejected Addresses . . . preceded by that written by Lord Byron . . .' was published. See Oulton, 'Hist. of the London Theatres', 1818, i. 228 ff.; 'Europ. Mag.' lxii. 264, 257*-64*; Genest, viii. 350-2; A. Boyle's edition of 'Rejected Addresses', 1929. Miss Tidswell acted minor parts at Drury Lane. On 10 Oct. Miss Kelly played Ophelia. Harriet Mellon (cf. No. 11628) played Nell in 'The Devil to pay'; she married Coutts in 1815. Lady Buckinghamshire had been a noted amateur performer, see No. 6713; cf. No. 11914. Mary Anne Orger née Ivers was a Drury Lane actress who on marrying a Quaker, George Orger, retired, but soon returned to the stage with his consent. Their identity is indicated by allusion to Thomas Orger, who published a translation of Ovid's 'Metamorphosis' in 1811. Dimond was a prolific writer of inferior plays, see vol. viii. For Drury Lane playwrights cf. No. 11438, &c. The 'New Regulations' are the restrictions on free admissions advertised on the play-bill on 10 Oct. G. F. Cooke, a brilliant but uncertain actor, died in New York in 1811. The print justly censures the mediocrity of the Drury Lane company under the Committee. For the Rejected Addresses see also Nos. 11938, 11939, 11941, 11993.
Reid, No. 182. Cohn, No. 732.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1989 April-Aug, Grasmere, Dove Cottage, Byron ...
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number