Theatrical Prints (Princeton draft manuscript)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Production Description

Document Title: Theatrical Prints &c.
Author: DGR
Date of composition: 1863
Type of Manuscript: draft
Collation: 1 leaf folded into four pages, 259-260, 271-272, 267-268


Current Location: Princeton University Library
Catalog Number: Troxell Collection

Scholarly Commentary


This is the only known witness to DGR's letter, which was clearly meant to be sent to one of the newspapers, or perhaps to Notes and Queries.

Printing History

As this work has never been published and exists only in rough draft, a reading text is here provided. The transcription of the manuscript comes at the end of this file.

Theatrical Prints &c.

Some thirty years ago and more, a favorite juvenile amusement was drawn from the theatrical character-sheets, “penny plain, twopence coloured or even halfpenny and penny [?]” which were then abundant at every cheap stationer's. These were coloured[?] I believe on zinc plates & published by Fairborn, City Road; Skelt, Swan Street Minories; Park, Leonard St. Finsbury; and others. The earliest publisher of them [was] I believe West first of Exeter St. & afterwards of Wych St. Strand. I have some of his prints, the earliest of which are dated from 1811, the latest 1831. These were less spread abroad than the others mentioned within my own recollection. Fairborn was also publisher of the sensational religious “Christmas Pieces”, bright with daubed colour, whose vacant central space was filled up by aspiring youths at Christmas with efforts in calligraphy.

Can any reader of 1 & 2 throw light on the production of all these works of art referred to? What artists were employed on them & at what periods? Some of the character-sheets are still in the market, though their popularity has ebbed well nigh to nothing; the only one of the above firms still in existence being Messrs Park of FInsbury. I remember to have met with some account of the trade in an old number of either The Morning Chronicle or Daily News (I think) at the now remote period ߞsomewhere about 1850— when Henry Mayhew's London labour series and the similar newspaper articles produced in emulation of it were still in course of periodical issue. Could any one refer me to the exact place & date of such account? I remember it was there stated that some artists since well known had been early engaged in the production of some of these prints. Could any one give their names or indeed any information respecting this quaint bypath of art, which must be remembered by many with some affection as a childish pleasure.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 3p-1863.prinms.rad.xml
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