British Library Treasures in full: Shakespeare in quarto
Main The Basics Background The Afterlife The Texts Expert views References Links Glossary Partners
The afterlife 1 2 3 4 5 6
Print 3. 19th Century
 
1814
Edmund Kean makes his London debut at the Drury Lane Theatre as Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Kean was to become one of the leading actors of his time. He excelled in several important Shakespearian roles, including Richard III, Othello, Hamlet, and Lear.

Edmund Kean as Hamlet
Edmund Kean as Hamlet. The Life of E.K., 2 Volumes, 1835. British Library, 10825.bb.1, v. 1, p. 97. Larger image

 
1844-1862
The actor Samuel Phelps presents seasons of serious drama, notably Shakespeare, at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre. He gives plays by Shakespeare not seen since the dramatist’s own time, for example Pericles. He also restores (as far as possible) the early Shakespearean texts, for example Richard III.
1850-1859
Charles Kean, the son of Edmund Kean and also an actor, presents Shakespeare’s history plays in spectacular productions intended to recreate medieval and Tudor England. He also presents The Merchant of Venice set in Renaissance Italy, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream set in classical Greece.
1853-1865
Publication of a 16-volume folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps. This limited edition is extensively illustrated.
1861-1871
Facsimiles of the early quarto editions of Shakespeare’s plays, produced by lithography, published by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps and Edmund William Ashbee.
1864
Tercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth celebrated at Stratford-upon-Avon, with a variety of entertainments inspired by Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee of 1769. There are also celebrations in London.
1864-1866
Facsimile of the First Folio, produced by photolithography, published ‘under the superintendance’ of Howard Staunton. The facsimile is issued in 16 monthly parts, which are gathered to form a single volume.
1874
Henry Irving plays the title-role in Hamlet in London for the first time. The production at the Lyceum Theatre is a triumph and runs for 200 performances.
1878-1902
Henry Irving manages the Lyceum Theatre, where he presents Shakespeare in lavish productions with designs influenced by leading painters. His productions are large in scale, with many supernumeraries for crowd scenes, trying to recreate the historical contexts of Shakespeare ’s original plays.

Macbeth and Macduff
'Macbeth and Macduff', by A. Fredericks, reflecting the historical style of productions by Irving and others. Austin Brereton, Shakespearean Scenes and Characters, 1886. British Library, 11765.i.3, plate opposite p. 55. Larger image

1879
Opening of the first Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon, with a production of Much Ado About Nothing.
1888-1890
The Henry Irving Shakespeare published in 8 volumes. The set of volumes has many illustrations by the painter Gordon Browne, which suggest the style of Irving’s productions.
1895-1905
The actor-manager William Poel tries to recreate the stage conditions of Shakespeare’s times in productions for the Elizabethan Stage Society. The plays include Hamlet, performed in 1900 with an all-male cast.

Tell me more:

Restoration
18th Century
19th Century
Early 20th Century
Late 20th Century
21st Century

Home The basics Background The Afterlife The texts
References Links Glossary Partners