Their theatres Lincoln 's Inn Fields and Drury Lane became known as the 'patent theatres' and were managed and directed by Thomas Killigrew and William Davenant respectively. The royal patents also permitted a wide-ranging repertory: tragedies, comedies, plays, opera, musical theatre and dancing.
Reproduction of an engraved ticket for The Mock Doctor at Drury Lane, London, 1732
This reproduction of an engraved ticket for a benefit performance of The Mock Doctor at Drury Lane in 1732 is rather a puzzle. The original engraving is signed William Hogarth' in the bottom left hand corner and has been reprinted by Samuel Ireland whose name appears below the print. The design is almost certainly a forgery. it is one of a group of engravings printed by Ireland and bearing Hogarth's name, but which are entirely unlike his style or that of his assistants. Even more suspicious is the fact that the ticket has been filled in with the date April 20th 1732, but the play did not open until June 23rd and no benefit is recorded until April the following year.
Painting of Hester Booth (c1680-1773) as a female Harlequin, John Ellys (ca 1701-1757), oil on canvas, c. 1772-1725, Museum no. S.668-1989
Hester Booth was a dancer and actress most famous for her role as Harlequin.
Etching of Rich's Glory or His Triumphant Entry into Covent Garden, engraving on paper, London, 1811, Harry Beard Collection. Museum no. S.45-2008
This satirical print from the workshop of William Hogarth was made after the opening of Covent Garden theatre in 1732.
Actor-manager John Rich moved from his theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields which he had been regularly selling out with performances of his new invention, the pantomime. He had lately had an even greater triumph with a musical play, The Beggar's Opera, by John Gay.
The scene shows a carriage arriving in Covent Garden (we can see St Paul's Church in the background) with a procession moving towards the newly opened Theatre Royal. In the carriage is John Rich, dressed as the performing dog that appeared in his version of Perseus and Andromeda. Rich was most famous for playing the character of Harlequin in his productions which combined classical subjects with pantomime to popular effect. Hogarth's low opinion of the quality of Rich's shows is indicated in this depiction of him as a dalmatian dog. A Harlequin is shown driving the carriage which is pulled by satyrs. John Gay follows, carried by a porter, while the crowd shouts 'Rich for ever'. The poem below the print criticises other followers in the parade, actors from the 18th century popular stage, including James Quin.