Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn
Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn
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Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn
SC_GL_HOG_004_038 (Collage 322917)
London Metropolitan Archives: Hogarth Collection
This engraving shows a provincial company in a barn, surrounded by costumes and props, preparing for its last performance. The ?Act against strolling players?, which received royal assent on 21 June 1737, made it an offence to perform plays without a licence and forbade performances outside the City and Westminster. Kathryn Shevelow in her book on Charlotte Cibber thinks it is likely that the actress with the handkerchief to her face in the Hogarth image was inspired by Charlotte Cibber, an actress notorious for her cross-dressing roles. Charlotte (1713 ? 1760) was from the famous theatrical family of Cibbers and her father was well known for rewriting Shakespeare plays, in particular Richard III. Charlotte developed a puppet show devoted to Shakespeare, and criss-crossed the country as a strolling player. She staged King Henry the Fourth with the puppets: ?With the Humours of Sir John Falstaff, The Part of Sir John Falstaff by Mr. Punch.? (Shevelow p264)
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