© Trustees of the British Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
© Trustees of the British Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

The Pit Door. La Porte du Parterre

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Published by - Carington Bowles


A struggling crowd, partly within and partly without the pit door, a spiked gateway, of Drury Lane Theatre. Men, respectably dressed but of plebeian appearance, stand in the foreground on the outskirts of the crowd or fight their way in, some with sticks. There are a few women; one who has fainted but is in an erect position owing to the crowd, is being revived with smelling-salts. A man is vomiting. In the foreground two lady's hats, the ribbons partly torn off, lie on the ground with shoes and the broken fragments of a shoe-buckle. In the background two ladies and a man are passing through a narrow door into the theatre itself; through the doorway is seen a section of an upper gallery and boxes below it, both crowded. On the exterior wall, above the heads of the crowd, is a playbill, 'By Command of their Majesties. At the Theatre Royal Drury Lane this present Thursday Oct 21 1784 The Grecian Daughter. Euphrasia Mrs Siddons. To which will be added The Devil to Pay'. followed by words in small type among which 'Sir John Lovelace Mr King' is just legible. 'Tomorrow the Tragedy of Hamlet Hamlet by Mr Kemble. ' 9 November 1784. Hand-coloured mezzotint.

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Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, England