Anonymous

1846

Antique Manuscript Playbill from the East India Company Ship Herefordshire

Theater Royal of the HEREFORDSHIRE Under the Distinguished Patronage of the LADIES & Capt'n. Richardson Jan'y. 23rd. 1846. This Evening her Majesty's Servants will perform a New Drama entitled the PENRYN TRAGEDY, …

DESCRIPTION: Very unusual and scarce manuscript theatrical playbill from a known British East India Company trading ship dated within at January 23, 1846.

On long voyages in order to entertain passengers, ships would sometimes offer music, dancing, and plays to make the tedious journey more enjoyable. This rare survivor documents such a theatrical offering aboard the East Indiaman "Herefordshire" as it returned from a voyage that began in London in 1845 and terminated in Bombay, India on Feb. 28, 1846 [1].

The Herefordshire was an old 40-gun, 1600 ton teak-built ship of the East India Company, launched in Bombay in 1812 by John Money. Her Captain was George Richardson.

This rare playbill reads: "THEATRE ROYAL of the HEREFORDSHIRE Under the Distinguished Patronage of the LADIES & CAPTAIN RICHARDSON Jan 23rd 1846. This Evening her Majesty's Servants will perform a New Drama entitled the PENRYN TRAGEDY, with New Scenery, Dresses, &c.
...
...
Act 1st Scene 1st
The Sailors of HER MAJESTY's SHIP Brittannia making merry in the Green Dragon.
...
...
The Whole to Conclude with the Popular Farce BILLY BUTTON the TAILOR ...
..
Doors open at 6 o'clock. Performance to commence at 7. For tickets of Admission apply to Mr. Maynard, Stage Manager No. 9 Starboard Terrace, Capstan Square, Gun deck road. …

This rare, unusual and interesting piece of nautical ephemera should interest collectors of both the theater and nautical history. It is a document from the end of the East India Company's control of India. The East India Company dissolved in 1858 with Britain exerting direct control after the India Rebellion of 1857. Watermarked "Ward and Son. 1842."

[1] "Allen's Indian Mail and Register of Intelligence for British and Foreign India." 1845 and 1846.
[2] Berncastle, Julius. "A Voyage to China". William Shoberl. London, 1850.

CREATOR: Anonymous

PUBLICATION DATE: 1846

GEOGRAPHIC AREA: England

BODY OF WATER: N/A

CONDITION: Fair.  Numerous folds. Repaired tears and a few small pinholes. Watermarked paper.

COLORING: Handcolored manuscript text in various fonts.

ENGRAVER: Manuscript

SIZE: 8 " x 14 "

ITEM PHYSICAL LOCATION: 1

PRICE: $2100


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