Vauxhall on a Gala Night


Apart from the people-watching and amorous encounters in the dark tree-line walks, the main attraction of Vauxhall Gardens (probably the most famous of the London pleasure gardens) was the exceptional music. Composers such as Thomas Arne wrote specifically for Vauxhall and others such as George Frideric Handel (whose statue by Roubiliac was erected in the gardens in 1738) were usually happy for their work to find a wider audience.

The fanciful and much illuminated ‘Orchestra’ building at Vauxhall Gardens, depicted in this print, housed an organ and a balcony for the musicians, raised above their audience to prevent requests for particular songs. Vocal concerts were immensely popular, as the large crowd testifies. The alcoves beyond are the supper-boxes, where one could dine on what was supposedly exorbitantly priced food.

Full title:
Modern London; being the history and present state of the British Metropolis. Illustrated with numerous copper plates. [By Richard Phillips.]
1804, London
Richard Phillips
Etching / View
Edward Pugh, Richard Rhodes
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

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