Van Buchel's copy of de Witt's drawing of the Swan playhouse


This is how an outdoor playhouse such as the Globe looked at the turn of the 17th century. It is an early copy of a drawing of the Swan Playhouse made by Johannes de Witt, a Dutch visitor to London, in 1596. The copy was made by de Witt’s friend Aernout van Buchel and is the only known Elizabethan representation of the interior of a public theatre.

The Globe was broadly similar in layout to the Swan, with a ‘thrust’-style stage, and held around 3000 people including ‘groundlings’ or standing spectators. There would have been very little in the way of scenery or props, meaning the play text had to set the scene effectively.

Full title:
Aernout van Buchel's copy of Johannes de Witt's drawing of the Swan playhouse
c. 1596, London
Manuscript / Illustration / Image
Aernout van Buchel, Johannes de Witt
© Utrecht, University Library, Ms 842. I
Held by
Utrecht University Library

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