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2002 articles 1977 articles

The paved court theatre at Somerset House

John Orrell


B.L. LANSDOWNE MS. 1171 is a collection of careful drawings of early English stages equipped with various kinds of scenery. All but one have been identified, however tentatively, and among them are what have hitherto been accepted as the earliest detailed designs for an English scenic stage - that erected in the Great Hall at Whitehall for a performance of Florimene in 1635. Fols. 5-6 give a full account of the layout of the hall on that occasion, while fols. 7-8 and 13b-16 show the mechanics of the scenery more closely.

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