- Museum number
Satirical pamphlet of 28 pages entitled:
“The Theatrical House that Jack Built.”
A satire on Covent Garden Theatre imitating in text, format, and woodcuts Hone's famous parody, see BM Satires No. 13292.
1. BM Satires 13370. The frontispiece illustration represents rival Richards (see BM Satires No. 12918) standing sword in hand, threatening each other, on the ends of a see-saw balanced on a book: '[Shake]spear'. Below: "The Great! and the Little Great." Macready first played Richard III on 25 Oct. 1819 challenging comparison with Kean, a performance hailed by the 'Examiner' (p. 699) as promising to rescue the house from its 'pantomimic degradation'. MS. identifications in B.M.L. C. 116. e. 6/7. Lettered beneath the title with the quotation:
With the publisher’s line beneath the illustration:
“London: Printed by and for Joseph Grove, Library, Hemmings Row, St Martin’s Lane. 1819. One Shilling.”
With a quotation beginning: “O, there be players that I have seen play…”on the verso.
The “Author’s Dedication to Manager Puff in Acknowledgement of the Abundance of Orders” is printed on the on the opening page.
2. BM Satires 13371. “This is the House that Jack Built.” The façade of Covent Garden Theatre recedes in perspective from left to right On the roof stands Kemble in quasi-Roman costume, striking an attitude. For the theatre as the ‘House that Jack [Kemble] built’ see BM Satires No. 11415&c.
3. BM Satires 13372, “This is the Beast that lay…” See BM Satires No. 13370. An elephant, chief example of 'pantomimic degradation', see BM Satires No. 11935, &c.
4. BM Satires 13373. “This is the man who engaged…” Fawcett, fashionably dressed, sits at a table weeping over a book with blank pages headed 'Box Book'.
5. BM Satires 13374, “This is the Rider that Ruin’d the Man…” An actor in theatrical costume with feathered turban stands with legs astride and arms flung wide. Identified as Charles Farley (1771-1859); he superintended Covent Garden Pantomimes 1806-34.
6. BM Satires 13375, “This is the Box Book Keeper.” A portrait of Brandon, seated at his desk with a large pen behind his ear. He became notorious during the O.P. Riots (see BM Satires No.1140&c.
7. BM Satires 13376, “These are the Council of Covent Garden that examine the Book Keeper who…” Three fashionably dressed men stand in consultation: Robins the auctioneer (left), hammer in hand, turns to Harris, while Brandon (right) makes a propitiatory gesture.
Robins (1778-1847) had in 1817-18 taken a leading part in improving the management and finances of Drury Lane and was later to do a similar service to Covent Garden.
8. BM Satires 13377, “This is the man who all men scorn..” Fawcett, fashionably dressed, stands with arms extended in a rhetorical gesture. The text is a savage attack on him: 'The Manager-Author—the Actor of "Quotem" . . .'. For Fawcett as Caleb Quotem, parish clerk and general factotum, see BM Satires No. 10674.
9. BM Satires 13378, “These are the actors insulted-enraged.” Four men and a woman, fashionably dressed, are in consultation. One man sits, the others stand. They 'swear, no longer to play, if not paid, And that they will never be I am afraid'.
10. BM Satires 13379, “This is the bride that lately married. That she in a much finer coach might be carried.”Margaret Agnes Somerville (1799-1883), who married Alfred Brown in 1819, stands between 'two hot-headed rivals', Eliza O'Neill, who married William Becher in 1819, and Miss Macauley (1787-1837).
11. BM Satires 13380, “This is the flag all tatter’d and torn & c.”A banner, imitated from BM Satires No. 13302, hangs from a pole surmounted by the head of Harris. It is inscribed 'Not an Order can be Admitted.' Orders are said to be distributed wholesale by Brandon 'upon the usual terms'.
12. BM Satires 13381, “Entertainment extraordinary, for the Christmas Holidays, at the House that Jack Built.” An auctioneer (Robins) on his rostrum, with hammer raised, faces three fashionably dressed Covent Garden actors. He is disposing of the theatre, scenery, &c.
13. [Tailpiece] The tailpiece is an Order: 'Theatre Royal Covent Garden On . . . 1820—Admit Twelve to the Pit W Brandon.'
The final page carries an advertisement for "Books Published by Grove"
Wood-engraving, vignette illustrations to a letterpress pamphlet
- Production date
Height: 219 millimetres (approx. page size)
Width: 138 millimetres (approx. page size)
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
Grove's 'Theatrical House that Jack built', price 1s., or coloured 2s., is advertised in the 'Examiner', 16 Jan. 1820 as 'just published'.
Bound as part of "Political Tracts Volume 3" a compilation of political pamphlets published circa 1819-1822, number 3 of 10 volumes. Volume 3 contains numerous pamphlets on the Queen Caroline affair. Also see "Political Tracts Volume 2", 184.a.2. for material concerning Queen Caroline.
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: The theatrical house that Jack built
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number