Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Begbie Theatre Royal

Patrick Begbie after Robert Adam.

View of the New Front, towards Bridges Street, of the principal entry to the Theatre Roya Drury Lane.

27 x 32.5 inches

An impressive view of the new entrance to London's Theatre Royal, designed by architect Robert Adam.

The Theatre Royal has stood at the heart of London's theatrical and artistic life since it was built in 1663 for King Charles II. Within a couple of years of opening the notorious Nell Gwyn would make her debut upon the London stage. From 1665-1666 the theatre had to close because of the Great Plague and the Great Fire and then, catastrophically in 1672, the theatre burnt to the ground. Sir Christopher Wren designed the replacement theatre which opened to much acclaim in 1674. Years later in 1742, David Garrick made his debut playing the lead role in Hamlet. Not content with treading the boards, he soon acquired the patent and became manager of the theatre during what was to become one of the golden ages of Shakespearian revival. By 1776 when this wonderful image was produced the Adam brothers had just completed a full refurbishment of both the interior and exterior of the theatre, creating the facade that we are so familiar with today. Sarah Siddons made her debut as Portia in The Merchant of Venice and the whole of London flocked to what had become the city's favourite playhouse. Garrick also retired during this year and handed over the reins to Richard Brinsley Sheridan so this print marks a very significant year in the theatre's history.


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