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|Drury Lane Theatre Royal
Written by JulieW
(2/27/2007 8:39 a.m.)
I add this post not only to illustrate the only other patent theatre in London in the 18th century ,but also because it became very strongly associated with Sheriden.
It is also interesting to note that commercial interest was never far from the fore in the 18th century theatre?.
In June 1776 Sheriden,his father-in-law Thomas Linley senior and a friend Dr Ford paid £35,000 for the half share of ownership of the theatre; of this Sheridan contributed £10,000. The money was raised on mortgage, Sheridan contributing only £1300 in cash. Two years afterwards Sheridan and his friends bought the other half of the property for £35,000.
The theatre had been recently upgraded and enlarged by David Garrick ,the then owner who employed Robert Adam the famous architect to upgrade his theatre into a splendid place where society would be pleased to spend their evenings, and also to promote his own interest in The Company of British Cast-Plate Glass Manufactuory established at Ravenshead, St Helens, Lancashire in 1773.
David Garrick had invested £12,000 in this venture and so did the Duke of Northumberland.
The Duke used some of the “sparkle glass” the company produced in his house in London, Northumberland House which was also designed by Robert Adam, with the idea of setting a trend . Once the fashion took hold in modish society it was envisaged that he,Garrick and Robert Adam would benefit from the profits generated by the demand for the glass
Here is one of the last pieces of that “sparkle glass” as used in Northumberland House to survive, and which is now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum:
Garrick employed Adam to use the same sparkle glass in the Theatre Royal, with the same intent.
Here is a picture of the auditorium from the stage: you can see the red and green sparkle glass on the pilasters. It must have been a rather beautiful sight in the candlelight.
The hope was that with Northumberland House as a grand domestic example , Ducal patronage , and also its use in the Theatre Royal the sparkle glass would become all the rage and would be used in fashionable homes throughout the kingdom.
This was not to be.
Most critics of the period were impressed by the decoration of Garrick’s theatre but as Eileen Harris in her magnificent bookThe Genius of Robert Adam : His Interiors writes
The death of the Duchess of Northumberland after a long illness in December 1776 coupled with the American Revolution put a damper on the glittering entertainments that were expected to launch the taste for spangled glass rooms. Hardly anyone followed the lead, nor was it ever repeated by Adam.
However….. I thought you might like to see the interior of the theatre where Sheriden became owner/manager :-)
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