- Museum number
- Object: A cart load of young players on their journey to London.
A countryman drives (left to right) a two-wheeled farm-cart with a body consisting of a cage for poultry above which, as an upper story, is a shallow trough in which stand posturing dwarves in theatrical costume; on this is inscribed 'To Messrs Harris and Kemble London'. The driver, a yokel in smock and gaiters, says: "I never had such a troublesome Cargo, in all my born days—they will sartainly kill one another before they reach the Tropolis,—I'm dang'd but I do think the old Mare has a mind to turn Actor, she cocks her ears in such a wild manner." The thick-set animal, with twitching ears and raised tail, paws the ground. Through the bars of the cage a cock and a goose extend their necks, labelled 'Cock for Hamlet' and 'For Mother Goose'. Above, the actors rehearse their parts: one takes another by the shoulder, saying, "Now Villain shall I cut thy throat or thou mine"; the answer: "My Arm a nobler Victory ne'er gain'd." The next two, obscured by the gestures of those in front, say: "Whip me, ye Devils Blow me about in Winds, roast me in Sulphur Wash me in steep down gulphs of liquid fire." And: "Be thou a Spirit of Health, or goblin dam'nd! Brings with thee airs from Heaven, or Blasts from Hell—." A man flourishing a sword exclaims: "Of one or both of us the time is come"; a woman declaims: "Can I have peace with thee? Impossible! First Heaven and Hell shall join; they only differ more." On the extreme right are two men in Highland dress holding daggers; one says: "Turn Hell Hound Turn!," the other: "I will not Fight thee."
- Production date
Height: 250 millimetres
Width: 352 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
In the autumn season of 1811 several new performers, some from provincial theatres, appeared at Covent Garden. The 'Satirist' (ix. 468-71) accused Kemble and Harris of engaging docile new actors at low salaries to replace old favourites who were too independent (among these new-comers are included H. Lewis, son of 'Gentleman' Lewis who died Jan. 1811, and one Putnam: actually both appeared at the Lyceum in the Drury Lane Company, the former having appeared at Covent Garden on 10 Oct. 1805). Miss Sarah Booth (1793-1867) made her debut on the regular stage as Juliet on the opening night of the season, 9 Sept. [So it was said. But she played in 'The Gazette Extraordinary' by Holman on 23 Apr. 1811 at Covent Garden. 'Europ. Mag.' lix. 290.] John Sinclair (1791-1857), the tenor, appeared on 20 Sept. as Carlos in 'The Duenna' (allegedly to replace Incledon). A Mrs. Child was well received as Emily in 'The Woodman' on 4 Oct. Miss Feron made her debut as Floretta in 'The Cabinet' on 24 Oct. According to the 'Satirist' she had been 'exhibited' in the provinces as an 'Infant Catalani' of fourteen for three years, and was puffed as a successor to Mrs. Dickens (playing with the Drury Lane Company). Francis Huntley (1787?-1831), afterwards known as 'the Roscius of the Coburg', a provincial actor who had played at the Surrey Theatre in 1809, appeared as King James in 'The Knight of Snowdon' on 25 Nov. Minor first appearances at Covent Garden were one Thompson on 13 Nov., Mr. Broadhurst from Sadler's Wells, on 21 Nov., and a Mr. Grant from Liverpool on 6 Dec. 'Europ. Mag.' lx. 213, 299, 371, 450-1. The 'Cock for Hamlet' is an allusion to Coates, cf. No. 11768; cf.:
"Your Romeo is not worth a d—n.—Let
Your next part be—the Cock in Hamlet." 'Satirist', ix. 317.
'Mother Goose' is an allusion to the Covent Garden pantomimes, see No. 10796.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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