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Nicholas Goodyer

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Nicholas Goodyer

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Ye Legende of Dicke Whyttington and hys Catte. 1420. Solde for Six Pennies. Ye Wrytinge of Ye Legends bye Horace Lennard. Ye Pictures bye Wallis MacKaye.

Ye Legende of Dicke Whyttington and hys Catte. 1420. Solde for Six Pennies. Ye Wrytinge of Ye Legends bye Horace Lennard. Ye Pictures bye Wallis MacKaye.

Lennard (Horace). 4to (8 3/4 x 11ins, 220 x 275mm) original deliberately aged vellum covers (now rather brittle), printed red and black, original green linen ties with red paper seal, printed with portrait of Augustus Harris, the completely untrimmed edges now rather more worn than even the the distressed original. Tipped-in notice explaining this re-imagining of the legend, pp (16), final leaf listing Harris' pantomimes at Crystal Palace, and Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Illustrated throughout in red and black to accompany the verse text. Marginal foxing. A rare survival, 2 copies recorded in the UK, 2 in US, 1 in Amsterdam. Son of a famous theatrical manager father, also Augustus Frederick Glossop Harris, following some years of successful acting, producing and management in music hall and theatre, Augustus junior leased the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, his celebrated and popular pantomimes subsidizing Opera productions such as the first production of Meistersinger, and Tristan and Isolde (first outside Germany), as well as other less popular pieces whose plots were "long and bewildering". The pantomimes cast Dan Leno, Vesta Tilley, Marie Lloyd, Little Titch, and both pantomimes and other productions were famous for their lavish scenery and parades, even involving Major Kitchener to arrange marching sequences. His innovations such as electric lighting, dark auditoriums during a performance, and courageously promoting Opera in languages other than Italian, set the standard of the day. Our Whyttington is no longer the innocent country lad, but a turbaned African youth, setting ashore at the white cliffs where John Bull has no cats. After being pulled up by Constable Bowbelles on Highgate Hill (a Victorian stop-and-search), the pestilential plague of rats is dispersed, and Dick's journey continues meeting William Booth, paying income tax to Gladstone, being entranced by his many visits to the Belles of the Drury Lane Theatre accompanying the Prince of Wales, and receiving honours from Queen Victoria. He returns home a rich man to his waiting sweetheart, founds a corporation, where he as Lord Mayor grew toothless old and fat, "And this is how ye stories run, which telle of Dyckie Whyttington".
  • $807