Book Description

The Court Theatre and Royal Dramatic Record; being a complete history of theatrical entertainments at the English Court from the time of King Henry the Eigth down to the termination of the series of entertainments before Her Most Graciouse Majesty Queen Victoria, His Royal Highness Prince Albert and the court at Windsor Castle, Christmas, 1848-9 with illustrations on steel by Finden from designs by Messrs T. Grieve, Telbin, and John Absolon, edited by John K. Chapman, published by Chapman and company. Folio, leather bound with gilt decorations, the covers with couple of marks wear and rubbed at corners and top/bottom of spine but solidly bound. 86 pages, some foxing at front and rear, largely to margins of plates and endpapers, never very heavy, the illustrations with tissue guards and including reproductions in colour of three programmes of plays / entertainments dated 1849 played before Victoria. The author / editor, John Kemble Chapman [1795-1851] publisher and printer of The Sunday Times (originally published in 1821 as The New Observer only becoming the Sunday Times in 1823 - with no relationship to the Times). Chapman was well known in theatrical and sporting circles and the Royal Dramatic Record appears to be an attempt both at a scholarly history of theatre as played before various British sovereigns (it is certainly informative on that score) and a flattering offering to the young queen and her consort. The opening remarks '...the habits of a nation are formed by the pursuits of its rulers.' and 'the example thus set by the sovereign can scarcely fail to be productive of beneficial effects, especially in what relates to the encouragement of the drama.' Clearly, Chapman hopes that Victoria's patronage of the theatre will help revive the drama. In this sense the work is both a historical record and plea for the stage to be reclaimed as an art form. Chapman especially praises the monarch for having had a temporary stage constructed at Windsor to which leading actors of the day were invited to perform before her, this giving the stage the royal seal of approval. A rare title
Author ed. John Kemble Chapman
Date 1849
Binding hard binding
Publisher Chapman
Illustrator Finden
Condition Good
Pages 86

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