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Manufacturing spectacle: the Georgian playhouse and urban trade and manufacturing.

The surviving account books of Drury Lane and Covent Garden theatres from the mid- to late-eighteenth century provide "A Peep Behind the Curtain," to quote the title of David Garrick's 1767 play, shedding light not only on production costs, but the men and women and skills required to mount increasingly lavish dramatic spectacles. Here one finds wages to regular theatre employees and house servants recorded alongside payment for wardrobe, property and scenery materials. Managers and heads of production departments relied upon local suppliers and tradespeople for everything from feathers to plumbing. Production costs integrated the theatres within metropolitan networks of commerce and manufacturing, as well as a broader non-theatrical artisanal labour force. (1)

A research focus on the financial records of London's theatres allows for a more fully realized history of cultural production, one which moves beyond internal institutional chronicles. Theatre historians have begun to investigate the economic conditions of eighteenth-century performance, particularly in the realms of opera and dance. (2) The alternating pages of receipts and expenses in theatrical account books disclose revenues, production expenditures, performer salaries, profitability, and financial (mis)management, each contributing to our understanding of the risks of cultural entrepreneurship and the business of making a living in the theatre. If we step outside the doors of the Georgian playhouse, however, and into the bustling streets of the metropolis, we come to see the surviving account books and ledgers in a new light, one which allows us to begin to identify the points of intersection between the London theatre and a broader urban economy.

London was a far greater manufacturing centre than has been previously assumed (A.L. Beier). The modes of production encompassed large scale shipyards and breweries to small masters' workshops, and, increasingly, armies of anonymous domestic outworkers--a phenomenon that would later be damned in the nineteenth century as "sweated labour." A significant portion of London's population was engaged in wholesale and retail trade, from substantial mercers to the lowly chandler's shop. Historians such as Peter Earle and Leonard Schwarz have mapped out the contours of London's industrial and commercial sectors, and their work draws upon taxation returns, fire insurance policies, apprenticeship records and inventories. These studies are particularly valuable in their use of (often elusive) sources which name individual artisans and shopkeepers, and which can provide a basis for linkage to other records. One of the more exciting aspects of working with theatrical business records is the possibilities they present as a source for the social and economic history of London's cultural neighbourhoods.

For the purposes of this essay, I will be drawing upon a selection of account books from the two patent theatres covering the 1740s through to the 1770s, as well as a smaller internal account book from Drury Lane's wardrobe department from 1803. (3) The surviving account books vary in the details they disclose. Some treasurers carefully recorded the names and occupations of the tradespeople with whom they did business, including descriptions of the items or services purchased. A change in staff, or a more harried treasurer, resulted in hastily noted totals of expenditures according to broad categories, such as wardrobe, leaving the names of individual suppliers and labourers much more difficult to trace. Despite their limitations, a sampling of these account books allows for a fuller understanding of the economic role of the Georgian playhouse within the broader context of urban trade and manufacturing.

A brief overview of the finances of London's two patent theatres at mid-century provides a background for evaluating their economic contributions as both employers and customers. In a season that ran from September to May, with an average of 180 performance nights, managers could hope to realize an income between 15,000 [pounds sterling] and 20,000 [pounds sterling] in the 1740s and '50s. Ticket sales obviously topped the list of sources of income, but treasurers also recorded income from shareholders' investments, concessions from selling fruit, forfeits from actors, dancers and musicians (usually for failing to appear at rehearsals), space rental, and occasional investments in stocks and annuities (Stone, xlv-lv; Appendix D). John Powel, an assistant treasurer at Drury Lane, estimated that box office receipts for the 1747-49 seasons averaged 116 [pounds sterling] per night, but this obscures nightly fluctuations in the size of the house, as audiences responded to the popularity of performers and repertoire, as well as to the lure of fashionable metropolitan pursuits outside the doors of the playhouse (Powel f. 25). Although the Licensing Act granted an effective duopoly to Covent Garden and Drury Lane, these theatres were surrounded by the attractions offered by competing venues such as pleasure gardens and music rooms, the King's Opera, as well as other playhouses such as the Little Haymarket. (4) In the midst of an increasingly commercialized leisure and entertainment industry, the profitability of the patent theatres could not be assumed. (5) Yet from the late 1750s through to the end of Garrick's reign at Drury Lane in 1776, both Drury Lane and Covent Garden achieved stable financial footing, taking in close to 30,000 [pounds sterling] annually, and realizing profits between 2000 [pounds sterling] and 7000 [pounds sterling] per season (London Stage Part 4 Appendix D).

Rising profits went hand in hand with (and indeed, were probably the consequence of) increased expenditures and investments at both theatres. Theatrical companies expanded from a corps of about 75-80 performers (including dancers) to over 100 by the 1770s. The numbers of house servants also increased, but more unevenly, from about 25 in the 1740s to anywhere between 45 and 95 at the end of this period. Expanding salary lists were matched by greater capital investments in scenery, wardrobe and improvements and expansions in seating and lobby areas for the audience (London Stage Part 4 "Introduction": liv-lix lxxxiv-lxxxvii and Appendix D). (6)

The Economic Impact of the Theatre: The Theatre as Employer

We can best gauge the economic impact of the London theatres from their expenditures on staff and production. Covent Garden and Drury Lane were clearly significant employers in their neighbourhood, with 300-400 theatrical personnel on their combined paylists. Historians of eighteenth-century London theatre have focussed largely on the question of performer salaries in their assessment of theatrical finances. Top actors and actresses were well aware of their value in attracting audiences, and accordingly negotiated contracts on the basis of a fixed seasonal sum, or a percentage of nightly profits. Susanna Maria Cibber (1714-66) was able to negotiate an annual salary of 700 [pounds sterling], in addition to the substantial proceeds of a benefit performance (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 3: 262-82). Most performers were paid a daily rate for each night the company performed, with salaries registered on a weekly basis in the account books. A paylist for Drury Lane from 1774 provides a weekly wage scale for the entire company. Spranger and Ann Barry (1717-77, 1734-1801) top the list, each earning 25 [pounds sterling] per week, followed at a distance by Tom King (1730-1805) at 12 [pounds sterling], and Frances Abington (1737-1815) at 8 [pounds sterling]. Middle-ranking actors' wages were in the 3 [pounds sterling] to 6 [pounds sterling] range, with minor parts filled by performers paid 12s to 2 [pounds sterling] per week. A troupe of 26 dancers, speciality singers and a small in-house orchestra of about 20 musicians were also in receipt of weekly wages (Drury Lane Theatre Paylist 1774). (7)

The exact numbers of house staff employed behind the scenes is difficult to determine, as they were rarely listed individually by name in the account books, but grouped under general categories such as scenemen, billstickers or sweepers. In the 1760s and 1770s senior house servants such as the treasurers and prompters earned between 2 [pounds sterling] and 4 [pounds sterling] per week. Over two dozen box-keepers and numberers were employed to ensure that members of the audience were legitimate ticket-holders, backed up by the security provided by in-house constables. These employees, together with approximately 30 dressers, managed on 9s to 15s per week. The lowest wages of 1s per night were paid to the theatres' charwomen (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1767-67 ff. 2-4). (8) Some of these house-servants supplemented their incomes with minor on-stage roles in processions or crowd scenes, and might share the proceeds of a group benefit performance.

During the theatrical season at least, London's theatres provided a steady, if modest, income for many men and women who remained on staff as longtime employees; the earnings of minor house servants such as boxkeepers and dressers were certainly in line with typical tradesmen and labourer's wages of the period (Earle The Making of the English 329-30).

David Garrick's weekly payroll for his company at Drury Lane was over 500 [pounds sterling] per week by the mid 1770s, or 21,000 [pounds sterling] annually. Over sixty percent of Drury Lane's budget was expended on salaries (Milhous "Company Management" 23). This money found its way into the local economy as employees spent their earnings on rent, food and drink, clothing, and a growing range of consumer goods available in the shops and markets of the West End.

Production Costs: The Theatre as Customer

London's patent theatres directly employed 300 to 400 staff on their payrolls, but indirectly provided work for many more as valued and regular customers for local manufacturers, tradesmen and shopkeepers. In a given year one might find 75 to 100 suppliers doing business with one of the major theatres. In 1766-67, Covent Garden spent more than 4000 [pounds sterling] on goods and services from local artisans and retailers (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts, 1766-67). Maintaining solvency was, for suppliers, a precarious balancing act, one easily upset by customers who were slow to settle their accounts. Aristocratic patrons and wealthy residents of London's West End were especially notorious for their disregard of tradesmen's bills. (9) This would have been a particular problem for those in the fashion trades, such as haberdashers and linen drapers, who were also prominent among suppliers to the theatre. Theatre account books record not only bills submitted, but from mid-century at least, regularity of payment. It is interesting to speculate as to whether some tradespeople may have relied upon the dependable business brought to them by London's theatres, as an offset to the piles of unpaid bills and credit extended to their other customers. John Powel, assistant treasurer at Drury Lane mid-century, noted that their tallow chandler, who sold the theatre 17 [pounds sterling] worth of candles per week, offered a significant 8% discount "on account of his receiving ready money for his goods" (Powel, f. 30). It is not known if other suppliers offered similarly attractive terms, but it certainly is an indication of the value of the theatre as a secure and reliable trading partner.

A network of manufacturers, retailers, artisans and labourers was engaged in each of the categories of production. Studies of the early modern theatre illuminate the material culture of stage performances and their histories of production, but historians of the eighteenth-century stage have been less attentive to the larger economic frameworks in which theatrical production was located (Harris and Korda). Yet managers were well aware of the value of their investments in props, scenery, and costumes especially, as key business assets. Critics were quick to ridicule inappropriate or shabby costuming, and playbills sought to attract audiences with promises of new music, dresses, scenes and decorations. David Garrick was willing to lay out 500 [pounds sterling] to retain the landscape artist Philip de Loutherbourg (1740-1812) to create spectacular effects in lighting and scenery (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 4: 300-314). (10) Considerable sums were expended on importing Italian and French scenic artists, many of whom went on to later prominence as members of the Royal Academy. The intersection of the crafts and technical skills of scenic production with the more elevated aesthetic and institutional codes of academic painting highlights the role of the theatre of as a key node in overlapping spheres of cultural practices and consumption. Although the theatre functioned as a patron and showcase for a range of artistic forms--and managers such as David Garrick certainly identified themselves as arbiters of public taste--theatrical proprietors were equally motivated by entrepreneurial concerns: competition for audiences and investment in future profits.

Wardrobe

The materials of stage production were recognized as forms of property. Covent Garden's vast wardrobe was used by John Rich as security to obtain a mortgage in 1744. The schedule listing the contents of the wardrobe filled close to thirty pages and included magicians' gowns, swords, and coronets in addition to cupboards filled with "modern cloaths" (ff. 34-61). (11) Commenting on Drury Lane's recent acquisitions of "rich Cloathes" for the wardrobe, Powel noted in 1749 that although the expenditure on costumes was high, this was a sound investment as they "doubtless are as good as money" (f. 38). In their protracted dispute over the management of Covent Garden, George Colman (1732-94) and Thomas Harris (d. 1820) made pointed efforts to control access to the costume stock, Harris going so far as to lock Colman out of the wardrobe claiming that his rival manager's removal of costumes represented "a licentious abuse of our common property" (43). (12) Performers (actresses in particular) also recognized their wardrobe as valuable professional necessity, giving rise to disputes as to the ownership of clothing--was it the personal property of performers or that of the theatre company? An example of this is the running battle fought by wardrobe departments to maintain their stock of gloves, suggesting interesting parallels with artisans of the time who viewed their work materials as legitimate perquisites. Managers must have sought to maintain the upper hand in this contest over theatrical materials at two levels: both in the tailor's shop where workers claimed fabric remnants or "cabbage" as a supplement to their wages, and in the dressing rooms where finished garments were at risk of disappearing into the personal wardrobes of performers. (13)

Managers invested heavily in the stock of their companies' wardrobes, spending between 1000 [pounds sterling] and 1800 [pounds sterling] per season (particularly from the mid 1760s to 1770s) on additions to and renewals of the costumes (London Stage Part 4 Appendix D). In his examination of the finances of Drury Lane at mid-century, Powel exclaimed that "the wardrobe was never so rich before as at this juncture ... there being a vast number of rich cloathes bought into their wardrobe within these two years and large sums paid to the taylor, mercer, and other tradesmen, on account of the same" (ff. 30-31).

Wardrobe expenditures benefitted local textile and clothing retailers, and generated the most employment for non-theatrical personnel. Linen drapers, mercers, glovers, shoemakers, feather-dealers, and lacemen all figure prominently in the account books. Over forty artisans and retailers supplied Covent Garden with materials and services related to the wardrobe. Some of these bills were modest, such as the 1 [pounds sterling] 1s paid to Mr Davis for a pair of stays, but other retailers counted on the theatres for more substantial and continuous business; Mr Bosville, mercer, presented monthly bills to Covent Garden's treasurer ranging from 28 [pounds sterling] to 54 [pounds sterling], totalling 212 [pounds sterling] for the 1746-47 season (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 ff. 47, 15, 39, 61, 79, 108). The glover's bill alone from Mr Harrison set back Covent Garden 60 [pounds sterling], while at Drury Lane gloves were reckoned to cost the theatre 6s. per night (ff. 16, 19). (14) The mercer Mr Gastrill billed Drury Lane for over 460 [pounds sterling] in the 1766-67 season (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1766-67 ff. 36, 52, 77, 99), and close to 500 [pounds sterling] was spent at another mercer's, Mr Hatsell, five years later as shown in the 1771-72 accounts (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 35, 45, 73, 101). Several of the more substantial dealers with the theatres may be identified in local trade directories, such as the mercers Bellamy and Settree of Chandois Street, Covent Garden, who did over 250 [pounds sterling] worth of business with Covent Garden. (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 ff. 59, 89). (15) Mr Cropley, later Cropley and Hart, which was probably the Cropley and Craven linen draper establishment at York Street, Covent Garden, listed in Mortimer's Universal Director of 1763 (Part III, 119), supplied Drury Lane with over 175 [pounds sterling] worth of goods in 1771-72 (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 23, 35, 45, 101).

Other needs of the wardrobe departments included ongoing additions and repairs to the supply of shoes. One or two shoemakers appear in the account books for each season, submitting bills between 2 [pounds sterling] and 30 [pounds sterling]. Costumes such as robes required the services of a furrier, who provided the embellishments for regal finery which played such a central role in the pageantry of theatrical processions so popular with Georgian audiences. The hatter Mr Blakes appeared in the Drury Lane accounts as a regular supplier in the 1760s and '70s. (16) Plumage for both hats and elaborate hairpieces contributed to the sense of spectacle on stage, supplied by numerous feather-dealers such as Francis Currey of Ludgate Street (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 81). (17)

Wigs and hairpieces in a variety of styles were part of the fashionable gentleman and lady's wardrobe, and featured equally prominently in the costumes of the period. Mortimer categorized hair manufacturers among the more specialist "mechanic arts" due to the "great many operations" entailed in the creation of wigs, "such as sorting, picking, and cleansing [the hair], the separation of the dead hair from the living, the mixing it into proper variations of colour, the baking it, curling it on pipes, etc" (Mortimer Part II: 42). Wig and peruke makers were among the regular suppliers to the theatre, and some such as Mr Pope, peruke supplier to Drury Lane, were paid extra for their hairdressing services over a number of nights. (18)

Stockings appear to be an item, along with gloves, that performers may have considered to be "shared" stock with the costume department. Whether lost, torn or borrowed, stockings were one of the small but necessary items in the wardrobe whose costs could easily escalate. Mr Waller relied upon Drury Lane for its regular patronage of his hosiery enterprise, billing the theatre for over 90 [pounds sterling] over the course of the 1771-72 season (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 35, 101). In a budgetary memorandum of 1777, composed at the end of his first season in his new managerial role at Drury Lane, Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) noted that stockings for dancers were one of "Several Encroachments" that had been made on the theatre, and recommended that new performers should provide their own white silk stockings (and gloves), and that stockings should be stamped with the performer's name (Drury Lane Theatre Nightly Accounts, 1776-79, f.49). (19)

The men's and women's costumes were managed by their own wardrobe-keepers who supervised several assistants as well as a staff of dressers. In addition to the work of designing and constructing specific items of clothing, they also looked after repairs and alterations, as well as maintaining their respective inventories. Not all tailoring and seamstress work was carried out within the wardrobe departments. Costumes demanding more specialist skills required the services of local manufacturers in the textile trades such as silk dyers and embroiderers. Dalmain and Son, embroiderers of Bow Street, Covent Garden, appear in the account books of Covent Garden from the 1740s through to the 1770s. (20) Mantua-makers such as Mrs Leverton were occasionally hired, at times billing Covent Garden for as much as 54 [pounds sterling] (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1768-69 f. 135). Maintenance of the wardrobe occasionally required the services of extra washerwomen such as Ann Nash or Mrs Cabel, who earned between 2 [pounds sterling] and 6 [pounds sterling] for their services. Covent Garden paid Mr Joyce 1 [pounds sterling] 1s for lace cleaning in 1746, while Phillis Bushel charged the theatre 4s. for mending lace in 1766 (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 ff. 6, 10, 13; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 f. 123). It was not uncommon for extra labourers to be hired, or work contracted out at the end of the season, as wardrobe keepers cleaned and repaired their stock for the following autumn.

Yard goods would have been worked up into costumes by in-house tailors and mantua-makers, but many costumes were bought as ready-made clothes as well. Powel noted a great number of clothes purchased for Drury Lane's wardrobe in 1747 were ready made and "very great bargains" (f. 31). Over the 1766-67 season, Mr Blackmore submitted invoices to Covent Garden for several dozen embroidered suits in rich velvets and brocades that totalled just under 500 [pounds sterling]. Purchases dating from 14 March 1767 were typical of the transactions carried out between Blackmore and the theatre's wardrobe department:
green cloth frock emb'd [embroidered]
 with gold 2 [pounds sterling] 12s 6d
crimson cloth suit laced with silver 12 [pounds sterling] 12s
flow'd velvet suit emb'd with gold 22 [pounds sterling]
scar'tt velvet suit emb'd with silver 18 [pounds sterling]
 (f.102)


Managers were obviously willing to pay the equivalent of two to three times the weekly salary of a mid-ranking actor for a single velvet suit, a clear indicator of the value of their investment in the company's wardrobe inventory.

Highfill, Burnim & Langhans' Biographical Dictionary identifies William Blackmore (fl. 1754-70) as Covent Garden's tailor, but the nature of his economic association is not entirely clear (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 2: 142). Despite the volume of business between Blackmore and Covent Garden in 1766-67, he does not appear in the extensive salary list compiled that year by the theatre's treasurer (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts, 1766-67, ff.2-4). (21) He appears to have been hired during the summer months at a rate of 10s per week. (22) Certainly Blackmore had a long-standing trading relationship with the theatre, but it is possible that he may have operated an independent tailoring enterprise as well, supplementing his work with Covent Garden (or perhaps with the theatre as one of his more prominent customers). Thomas Luppino (fl. 1757-1814) provided tailoring services for Covent Garden theatre throughout the 1760s (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 9: 382-84).The treasurer's office paid his bills, ranging from 5 [pounds sterling] to 24 [pounds sterling] "on account" every few weeks. On 27 December 1766, he was paid an additional 7 [pounds sterling] 10s for 75 nights' attendance at the wardrobe, perhaps assisting with dressing and alterations during performances (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67, ff.48, 52, 57, 60, 63). By the mid-1770s, Luppino was employed as a tailor by Drury Lane, as well as the King's Theatre; later in the 1790s he managed the tailor's workshop at the Pantheon Opera (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 9: 382-84). (23) Milhous and Hume note that Luppino appears to have had a business in Leicester Street, from the late 1770s, and possibly sought the patronage of the Prince of Wales and his entourage when he bought a house near Brighton in 1784 ("Tailor's Shop" 37). A reference in Drury Lane's prompter's diary to Luppino's delay in bringing dancers' dresses to the theatre suggests that he had tailoring premises outside the playhouse (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 9: 382-83). Given the extensive commentary on theatrical costuming in the periodical press, the stage afforded tailors an excellent opportunity for marketing their designer skills to a fashionable audience.

Theatrical tailors appear to have supervised the design and construction of costumes within the workshops of the wardrobe department as well as off-site at their own premises. In addition they were commissioned with obtaining ready-made items suitable for the stage from outside sources. Mr Hammersly, employed on salary as a tailor at Covent Garden in the 1740s, seems to have been authorized to purchase items from linen drapers such as Mr Hughes, who also appears in Covent Garden's account books selling ready-made clothing (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 7: 53; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 ff. 28,58,60). The account books record Hammersly's purchases of fabrics for in-house design and construction, such as 7 yards of silver lace (3 [pounds sterling] 6s), 1.5 yards of yellow damask (13s 6d) and 9 yards of crimson velvet (3 [pounds sterling] 7s 6d). Although these bills were submitted on behalf of the wardrobe department, rather than directly from suppliers, they are another source for gauging the purchasing power of the theatre in the local economy. In the hands of textile historians and those studying the clothing trades, theatrical account books offer a supplementary means of determining the prices of textiles and the worth of ready-made clothing in the retail market. Hammersly was also paid for complete suits of clothes such as a black velvet suit of women's cloaks costing 8 [pounds sterling] 8s and a white satin suit of women's clothes with silk and silver flowers costing 10 [pounds sterling] (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 ff. 102, 113, 129). It is possible that these were items completed by the wardrobe department's staff under Hammersly's supervision, but these in-house costs commonly appear in the general account books as payment for yard goods and wages, or simply "wardrobe", rather than completed costumes. It is equally possible that such items were purchased as ready-made clothing, either new or second-hand. An entry in Covent Garden's account books from 1761 lists 50 [pounds sterling] worth of frock coats, breeches and waistcoats, trimmed with gold lace and embroidered in silver, bought by Blackmore from the valet of Lord Holdernesse (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1760-61 f. 107). (24) In addition to Blackmore's services as tailor, at least seven dealers in ready-made clothing supplied Covent Garden in the 1766-67 season, but none came close to his volume of business. (25)

Theatres were active participants in London's second-hand clothing market. Bills for 30 [pounds sterling] were paid to Mr Wadley, salesman (that is, a dealer in second-hand clothing), for supplying Covent Garden with clothing in 1746 (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 ff. 46, 107). Account books record the exchange of costume stock from the wardrobe for new suits of clothes from retailers. In one entry, Hammersly reports the acquisition of black velvet cloaks in exchange for a suit of clothes bought previously from Hr Hughes (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 f. 28). This highlights the importance of the circulation of clothing as an alternative currency, and suggests links between the theatre and the vast network of second-hand clothing dealers in the metropolis (Lemire "Peddling Fashion" and Dress, Culture and Commerce). Covent Garden's treasurer noted the receipt of 10 [pounds sterling] 12s. at the end of the 1766 season for "Cloathes from the Wardrobe," evidence of the wardrobe keeper's annual evaluation of the wardrobe inventory and a keen eye for the market value of the theatre's costumes (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 5v). Theatrical entrepreneurs in the early modern period were known to have been active retailers of new and second-hand clothes, and it is possible that this participation continued in the eighteenth century (Korda 204; Jones and Stallybrass). Women were active in both the second-hand and ready-made trades, as Mrs Hillman's bills to Drury Lane for 27 [pounds sterling] for women's clothes indicate (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1766-67 ff. 7, 41). Women are particularly evident as suppliers to the wardrobe department, which is not surprising given women's prominence in the textile and needlework trades. Ann Keene and Ann Chaloner each billed Covent Garden for 11 [pounds sterling] for women's clothes (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1767-67 ff. 34, 37, 39, 90), while Mrs Buchoke was a regular supplier of gowns (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1768-69 f. 32).

The clothing in the companies' wardrobes served as a form of convertible wealth through the meticulous recycling of valuable lace trimmings. Mr Scott, a copper-laceman, sold goods to both Covent Garden and Drury Lane, appearing in their account books for over 25 years. In the 1771-72 season, the Drury Lane costume department purchased more than 300 [pounds sterling] worth of lace from him (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 f.27; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 35, 101). In addition to Scott's wares, Drury Lane expended another 40 [pounds sterling] on lace from other dealers: John Hewetson, a gold and silver-laceman with premises in King Street, Covent Garden, Mr Jones, a worsted-laceman, and Mr Elliott, listed simply as "laceman" (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 45, 48, 101). Mortimer's Universal Director noted that

The Manufacturers of different sorts of Lace, are vulgarly denominated Gold and Silver, and Worsted Lace-men; but though they are Shopkeepers only to appearance, yet they are in reality as much Manufacturers as the Weavers in Spitalfields; for, like them, they deliver out the materials to workmen, who manufacture them under their direction.

(Mortimer Part II: 47- 48.)

350 [pounds sterling] in lace might seem an extravagance, but as Drury Lane's assistant treasurer noted, when the costumes "are no longer fit to appear upon the stage, the lace will burn to a considerable part of their money again," a reference to the practice of burning away old cloth to salvage valuable metals (Powel, f. 31). Covent Garden's account books register receipts in July 1766, of 216 [pounds sterling] "for gold and silver burnt", and a further 487 [pounds sterling] for lace burnt at the end of the 1771-72 season (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67, f.5v; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72, f.147v).

Such references to prudent management of theatrical stock are indicative of the specialized knowledge and skills, both artisanal and fiscal, that characterised each of the small workshops within the theatre. Mary Rein's wardrobe journal of 1803-04, provides a rare glimpse of the working conditions and internal finances of Drury Lane's costume department.

Employed as a mantua-maker at the theatre since 1780, she appears to have been in charge of the women's wardrobe from 1794 through to 1815 (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 12: 301-02).Through Rein's wardrobe journal we gain access to a workshop which employed three women as mantua-makers, as well as a starcher and a laundress. (26)

Mary Rein (fl. 1780-1815) managed the finances of Drury Lane's wardrobe as well as its personnel, recording payments to staff, and bills from suppliers such as linen drapers, embroiderers and button-makers. For her management skills she was paid a salary of 3 [pounds sterling] per week. A hectic production schedule is revealed in her journal notes on costumes in progress, with descriptions of garments that were ready for the stage often just the day before a performance. Rein administered weekly bills of 15-20 [pounds sterling], totalling over 500 [pounds sterling] worth of expenditures for the 1803-04 season.

Rein's accounts list numerous suppliers who otherwise are absent from Drury Lane's ledger books for this period, or whose bills are lumped together under a general category of "wardrobe" or mantua-makers' expenses. Over thirty tradespeople and retailers did business with the wardrobe department. The volume of business varied from supplier to supplier--Roberts & Plowman, mercers, sold over 60 [pounds sterling] worth of muslin, satins and velvets to Drury Lane, while Gawthorn, a shoemaker realized a mere 4s 6d worth of trade (Miss Rein's Journal, ff. 1v, 2v, 4v, 5v, 6v, 9v, 11v, 16v, 17v, 19v, 24v, 29v). With over twenty years of experience in theatrical costuming, Rein would have developed an in-depth knowledge of local retailers and skilled artisans, the goods in which they specialised, and where to get the best value for money. She did not rely on just one supplier in any category, but bought goods from six linen drapers, three embroiderers, four trim-makers, three shoemakers, and three haberdashers. This might have been a strategy to extend credit, but it appears that Rein was conscientious in paying local businesspeople. Each week's expenditures conclude with an emphatic "all paid."

Some of the expenses recorded in Rein's accounts represented a contracting out of labour, a practice which was to become much more common in the nineteenth century. Barret, a local embroiderer, supplied miscellaneous items such as gold spangles and silver trim, but was also paid for "richly ornamenting" larger pieces which required more time and specialised skills (ff. 11v, 14v). Rein's journal may not reveal the full extent of labour and skill which contributed to the creation of London's dramatic spectacle. It is probable that the shoemakers, embroiderers, tassle-makers and flower-makers listed here were employers of skilled and semi-skilled labourers, whose names are lost to us.

Lighting and Heating

Lighting did not benefit the same number of tradesmen as wardrobe expenditures, but those who were fortunate enough to secure one of London's theatres as a customer did very well indeed. Lighting the stage and auditorium was a major expense, and a contract which wax and tallow chandlers would have coveted. Mr Palmer charged Drury Lane over 380 [pounds sterling] for his superior spermaceti candles, approximately one quarter of the overall lighting expenses for 1772 (London Stage Part 4 Appendix D; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 45, 103). Covent Garden had to budget over 900 [pounds sterling] for lighting for the 1766-67 season. Candles sold by Barratt the wax chandler accounted for 390 [pounds sterling] in lighting expenditures that season, while Pattinson's cheaper, but smokier tallow candles cost the theatre about half that at 173 [pounds sterling] (London Stage Part 4 Appendix D). (27) Like valuable lace trimmings, candle ends were carefully salvaged and resold. At Covent Garden, Elizabeth Carne's chief task was the nightly collection of candle ends, the proceeds of which brought in 70 [pounds sterling]-120 [pounds sterling] per season to the theatre's treasury (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 151v; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1767-68 f. 154v; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1768-69 f. 158v; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72 f. 1v; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1772-73 f. 1v). (28) Drury Lane's management allowed dressers to keep candle ends left in their rooms as a perquisite, a custom which the incoming manager Sheridan wanted to see abolished, "as many bad consequences may arise from it" (Drury Lane Theatre Nightly Accounts 1776-79 f. 48). Sheridan's somewhat erratic economizing might seem miserly, but it highlights the mounting costs of stage-lighting, particularly in a period which saw greater innovation in scenic and lighting effects (Stone and Kahrl 324-29; Rosenfeld; Burnim; London Stage. Part 4, "Introduction" cxvi-cxxiii).

In 1771-72 Buxton & Enderby supplied Covent Garden with over 320 [pounds sterling] worth of oil for use in stage lighting. Their competitors, Barrow and Reynolds of Upper Thames Street, won Drury Lane as a regular customer, a trading relationship that netted the oilmen between 250 [pounds sterling] and 470 [pounds sterling] per season. (29) These suppliers would have been fairly substantial merchants, as they are both listed in Mortimer's Universal Director (109, Part 3: 17, 109). Innovations or repairs to lighting technology also required the services of local artisans. Mrs Butcher, a tin-woman, billed Covent Garden between 10 [pounds sterling] and 20 [pounds sterling] per month for her skills in 1746-47. Drury Lane relied upon Mr Cubitt for their lighting repairs, spending 40 [pounds sterling]-50 [pounds sterling] per season on his services (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 ff. 52, 156, 168, 171, 172, 173; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 20, 35, 101; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1772-73, ff. 33, 101; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1773-74 ff. 28, 102; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1774-75 ff. 14, 102). Robert Campbell, in The London Tradesman (183-84), describes the tin-man's occupation (typically, he assumes this to be a male trade):
 it is his Business, by beating it [tin] on a polished Anvil, to
 give it Smoothness and Lustre, to form it into Lamps, Cannisters,
 Pans, ... etc ... The Tin-Men are now generally Lamp-Lighters; from
 whence they receive the greatest Part of their Profit ... Glass and
 Tin are the only Articles he deals in; but the GlassHouse of late
 gets most of his Money.


Upgrades and repairs to candleholders, lamps and lighting reflectors brought frequent business to the tin-men and women, but as Campbell notes, the services of the glassmen were required as well. Bills from glaziers and glass suppliers such as Maydwell and Windle's glass warehouse in the Strand cost theatres between 20 [pounds sterling] to 30[pounds sterling] per season in the 1760s and '70s (Mortimer Part III 141; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1768-69 ff. 125, 158; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1769-70 ff. 31, 153; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72 f. 146). Drury Lane's 1771-72 account book lists three different glaziers and glass-men: Mr King, Mr Stafford, and Lowe & Company, each of whom may have specialized in different services or types of glass (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 10, 101, 103).

Heating the draughty theatres through a chilly autumn and winter performance season cost between 100 [pounds sterling] and 150 [pounds sterling] a season in coal bills. Generally theatres seemed to have depended on a single coal dealer, although Drury Lane paid bills for coal deliveries to two suppliers in 1771-72: Mrs Chitty and Mr Dorman (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 16, 24, 101). (30)

Scenery, Props and Repairs

Scenery and props kept a staff of carpenters, painters and scenemen employed. Mr Price, the in-house carpenter at Covent Garden in 1747, submitted weekly bills for "men's work" who, like some of the journeywomen in the wardrobe department, would have been hired on a casual basis (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 ff. 172, 173, 174). Sheridan sought to consolidate employment in as few hands as possible, recommending that "[w]orkmen should be kept out as much as possible for little single Jobs as it has been found productive of great Impositions" (Drury Lane Theatre Nightly Accounts 1776-79 f. 52). Sheridan's efforts to reduce incidental tradesmen's bills may have met with limited success, but his concerns illuminate the theatre's role as an employer of casual labour and customer for local artisans.

Covent Garden's expenditures on scenes and stage machinery are estimated at 1000 [pounds sterling]-1200 [pounds sterling] per season in the late 1760s and early 1770s. Drury Lane spent far less in the 1760s but had caught up and surpassed their rival house by the mid 1770s (London Stage 4 Appendix D). Of the numerous artisans and tradesmen entered in the account books, one cannot determine with certainty under which category of expenditure their bills should be counted. Mr Rayner's bows and arrows supplied for Monsieur La Riviere's dance, "The Female Archer," performed at Covent Garden in December of 1766, probably fell under the category of stage properties, as did the sword cutlery services of Mr Bibb (London Stage 4 vol. 2 1204; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 ff. 50, 66.) A bill of 10 [pounds sterling] 5s for papier mache submitted to Drury Lane by Mr Babel probably would have been classified with props. Mr Johnston's carving and gilding skills (at a cost of 135 [pounds sterling] for the 1771-72 season) may have been required for stage furnishings, or for repairs and maintenance in Drury Lane's auditorium. That same season Drury Lane's treasurer recorded 130 [pounds sterling] in payment to Mr Chettell, timber merchant, a cost that might have been classified under scenery, or general repairs and upgrades. Increasingly sophisticated stage machinery may have brought in ironmongers Chamberlayne and Co (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 28, 35, 45, 63, 101). Bills from colourmen, such as Charles Sandys of Long Acre, "whose art consists in mixing and properly preparing the finer Colours, for the use of the Painters," or William Layton, for lacquer, would have been accounted with scenery (Mortimer Part II 25). (31) Thomas Emery (fl. 1756-1774), Charles Wilford (fl. 1750-1774) and Mr Austin (fl. 1757-1767), all long-serving scene painters at Covent Garden, frequently submitted bills which would have paid for labourers in their workshops, and would have included reimbursements or forwarding of invoices for supplies which they had purchased from local retailers and tradesmen (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 1: 177, 5: 90-91, 16: 89). As with the wardrobe, each production department managed its own system of internal accounting, submitting bills for expenses to the treasurer's office. These submissions were simply recorded in the account books "as per bill," rather than naming the individual items and suppliers, thus obscuring somewhat the true extent of the economic activity generated by theatrical production.

In 1771-72, repairs and upkeep at Drury Lane brought in the services of ironmongers, timber merchants, plasterers, bricklayers, turners, smiths, plumbers, masons, upholsterers and glaziers. At least sixteen local tradesmen charged Drury Lane for work relating to scenery, properties and repairs that season. The bills paid by theatre treasurers ranged from 116 [pounds sterling] for Mr Burges' bricklaying skills to as little as 12s for the chimney sweep (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 f. 74; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 155). In an age when audiences so readily expressed their displeasure at an evening's performance with acts of violence, a prudent manager would budget for substantial repair costs. Drury Lane's assistant treasurer noted, in a something of an understatement, that "as Accidents do frequently happen" it was wise to calculate even casual tradesmen such as bricklayers and ironmongers among the theatre's regular nightly expenses (Powel, f. 35).

Advertising

Although not immediately apparent in the evening's performance, stationers and printers were crucial to the business of the theatre. Between the years 1766 and 1773 Joseph Cooper did over 300 [pounds sterling] worth of business annually with Covent Garden as their primary printer of playbills (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 ff. 30, 47, 66, 89, 100, 102, 118, 134, 151; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72 ff. 11, 26, 45, 65, 77, 94, 106, 138, 147). Advertising in newspapers, principally the General (later Public) Advertiser and Daily Gazetteer, curiously brought revenue into the theatres, as newspapers proprietors such as Henry Woodfall paid for the monopoly rights to provide theatre listings, presumably because this was a powerful incentive for readers to purchase the paper (Stone & Karle 340-42). (32) Powney and Company were the principal stationers for Drury Lane Theatre, while Mrs Jarvis and Mr Moran provided paper and other office supplies to Covent Garden (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1766-67 ff. 49, 100; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 f. 61; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1772-73 f. 54; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1773-74 ff. 19, 67, 102; Drury Lane Theatre Journals, 1774-75 ff. 49, 102; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1775-76 ff. 27, 54, 74, 108; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1768-69 f. 113; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1769-70 f. 79). Powel noted in 1747 that Drury Lane's advertising costs in the General Advertiser were cancelled out by the purchase of a share in Woodfall's paper by the theatre's new managers, David Garrick and James Lacy (Powel, f. 30). Woodfall himself was a shareholder in Covent Garden Theatre (London Stage Part 4 "Introduction" liii). Evidently, mutually beneficial relationships between media and entertainment enterprises were as sought after by cultural entrepreneurs in the eighteenth century as they are by today's media magnates.

Local economic benefits and networks The economic impact of Covent Garden and Drury Lane on their immediate environs was not limited to the manufacture and sale of tangible goods. Theatres were assessed for significant sums in local taxes (between them 300-500 [pounds sterling] per annum), contributing to the poor rates, and costs of cleaning the streets, as well as local night watchmen (London Stage Part 4 Appendix D). In the ongoing debates over the morality of the theatre, critics accused playhouses of luring industrious youth away from their civic and economic duties, and encouraging idleness, vice and ruin. (33) Whatever forms of dramatically-inspired debauchery and criminality may have occurred in the precincts of London's theatres, theatrical proprietors certainly made significant contributions to the policing and local governance of their neighbourhoods.

Happier expenditures came in the form of tavern bills, which feature as one of the more dependably recurring items in the theatre account books. Ben Jonson's Head could rely upon regular patronage from Drury Lane's management, and no doubt other theatre employees whose bills were not covered by the Treasurer's office, receiving payments between 2 [pounds sterling] and 5 [pounds sterling] every week. The Black Lyon similarly carried on a steady trade with the theatre. (34) Taverns served as useful meeting venues for conducting business, and it was the custom to treat constables and the local magistrate with dinners in exchange for their continued protection. When managers were feeling generous, they were willing to foot the bill for small, but no doubt welcome instances of hospitality for their companies, such as the 6 [pounds sterling] 2s charged by John Archibald for "wardrobe dinners" for Covent Garden staff, or the wine supplied by Tomkyns and Company for rehearsals (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 ff. 14, 38, 152).

Theatre companies also relied upon the services of attornies, bankers and even apothecaries. Sheridan, in one of a myriad of schemes to avoid his creditors while seeking out new sources for loans, submitted to his bankers in 1795 a curious memorandum. He outlined the financial advantages to a bank of retaining his theatre company as a regular customer (Sheridan-Grubb Papers 9). Sheridan no doubt overstated the case, but it is suggestive of the broader economic impact of an expanding entertainment sector. In terms of financial services, the treasurer's office of the theatre company provided basic credit facilities to its own employees, extending advances, and exchanging cash for promissory notes.

One will find few of these theatrical suppliers listed in the London directories of the period, which is precisely what makes these financial records so valuable to the urban historian. Those retailers and trades-people whose addresses can be traced in the directories were located in the vicinity of Covent Garden and the Strand. While this comes as no surprise, it underlines the role of the theatres as key nodes in the local urban economy.

Apart from location, there may have been other factors shaping these economic relations. No doubt some of these suppliers had personal or family ties to theatrical personnel. Pritchard, the tailor who regularly billed Covent Garden throughout the 1766-67 season, may have been associated with Pritchard's Warehouse in Tavistock St, first established by William Pritchard (1707-63), treasurer of Drury Lane and husband of the actress Hannah Pritchard (1709-68). After William's death in 1763, Pritchard's Warehouse continued as a supplier of theatrical costumes and fashionable "habits" under the management of his daughter and her husband (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 12: 170-92). (35) Having secured the theatre as a customer, a supplier might be in a position to pass on business opportunities to relatives and associates. Mr Leverton took in 175 [pounds sterling] as a bricklayer for Covent Garden theatre in 1766-67. In the same year Mrs Leverton (presumably his wife) charged the theatre 53 [pounds sterling] for her services as a mantua-maker (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 ff. 5, 7, 27, 44, 52, 59, 90, 95). The William Paddick (fl. 1735-1760) who billed Covent Garden for 25 [pounds sterling] worth of clothing was, in all likelihood, the husband of Mrs Paddick (fl. 1748-1775), the theatre's wardrobe assistant and "capwoman" (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 18.) A former bit-player at Covent Garden and Drury Lane, Mr Paddick appears to have parlayed his professional and personal connections into a new trade as a clothing dealer (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 11: 143-44).

Artisans hired for one purpose might find their services required in other areas. Mr Heaford, a plasterer, submitted two bills to Covent Garden's treasurer in 1767, one for work carried out in the playhouse, and another small bill for work completed at the residence of the theatre's housekeeper, Charles Sarjant (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 81). A poignant illustration of such dual roles may be found in the work carried out for Covent Garden theatre by Mr Shane, an upholsterer. In 1766-67 he billed the theatre for over 90[pounds sterling] worth of work, presumably for theatre furnishings or props. That same season, Covent Garden relied on him for funeral arrangements for two members of staff: Grace Gould, the women's wardrobe keeper, and Mrs Cable, perhaps the same Mrs Cabel who had provided laundry services to the theatre. (36) The sums were small (4 [pounds sterling] 8s and [3 pounds sterling] 8s) but these account entries provide evidence of the provision of limited benefits and charitable services for former employees.

If local artisans and retailers found it advantageous to secure the business of the theatre, were they bound to one theatre exclusively? Initial findings suggest that in general, suppliers tended to do business primarily with one theatre. Artisans with more specialized skills, such as Mr Carpue the silk dyer, or Mr Bibb, a sword cutler, provided services to both Drury Lane and Covent Garden. (37) Jacob Kirkman (1710-92), "Harpsichord-maker to her Majesty," tuned and repaired instruments at both playhouses (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 9: 48). (38) The overall pattern that emerges from the account books is one where the supplier lists for each theatre are fairly distinct and tend not to overlap. (39) Given that each theatre appears to have traded with its own network of suppliers, the effect of this was to cast the economic spin-offs of cultural enterprises even more broadly among local businesses, rather than concentrating the benefits among a narrower group of tradespeople who specialised in theatrical supply.

Advertisements in playbills and newspaper listings for upcoming benefit performances provide another source outside the account books which further our understanding of the wider economic impact of the theatre. An initial survey of businesses which acted as ticket agents for benefit performances suggests that this was a mutually beneficial arrangement for retailers and theatrical personnel alike. Tickets for singer and actress Esther Jones's (fl. 1736=95) Covent Garden benefit performance were available at her husband's, Charles Jones (fl. 1759-65), music shop in Russell-Court, near the theatre. He also sold tickets on behalf of his sister-in-law, the singer Isabella Lampe (fl. 1733-95) (Public Advertiser, 18 April 1765 and 11 April 1766). (40) Personal connections and philanthropic spirit may have been factors, but it is probable that savvy marketing to a shared target audience was a key determinant of these economic relations. Put simply, it was in the interest of the proprietor to sell such tickets because they hoped to attract playgoers as potential customers for their own businesses. Coffee-houses were popular outlets for the sale of benefit tickets, as were booksellers, print-sellers and music-shops. The luxury trades--jewellers, enamellers and perfumers--also figure prominently among ticket venues. The Covent Garden dancer Miss Daw's (fl. 1760-68) benefit tickets were sold by a watchmaker and two jewellers: Mr Hodgkinson of Lincoln's Inn Fields, and Mr Peacock in Clare market (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 4: 235-36; Public Advertiser, 27 April 1765). Fashionable shops such as milliners and peruke-makers also figure prominently among ticket venues. Not surprisingly, many of these businesses were located in the squares and streets of the theatre district. Fans of the contralto Signor Niccolo Peretti (fl. 1762-80) could purchase tickets for his benefit performance from the perukemaker Mr Pitt, in the Great Piazza, Covent Garden (Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 11: 262; Public Advertiser, 5 May 1764). Some of these businesses may have been suppliers to the theatre, but so far it has not been possible to establish this connection. Nevertheless, the sale of theatre tickets was clearly mutually beneficial for theatre personnel and local businesses.

London's theatres served as economic engines in their local neighbourhoods--as direct employers, as customers generating sales and employment for retailers, manufacturers and labourers, and as magnets for bourgeois and fashionable audiences who in turn brought their patronage to local businesses. When we consider the competition among cities today to attract film production companies, the strategic location of bookseller outlets and cafes in concert halls, and the campaign to invest in "smart cities", (Florida) where culture acts as a catalyst for urban regeneration, we may be rediscovering a model of economic success already familiar to the Georgian creative classes.

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Harris, Thomas. A Letter from T. Harris to G. Colman, on the Affairs of Covent Garden Theatre. London: J. Fletcher, 1768.

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(1) Agrowing body of work on cultural entrepreneurship in eighteenth-century England highlights the intersections of commerce and culture (Borsay; Solkin; Bermingham and Brewer; Brewer; Mackie; Moody).

(2) Tracy Davis's groundbreaking work on nineteenth-century theatre offers a model for thinking about "theatre's relationship to the economy writ large." See her "Reading for Economic History" and The Economics of the British Stage 1800-1914; see also individual works by Ian Woodfield and Judith Millhous. Earlier collaborations by Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume drew historians' attention to the treasures to be found in theatrical financial records.

(3) Although a few account books survive from the first three decades of the century, this essay focusses on the 1740s through to the mid 1770s, a period when more steady runs of account books survive for both patent theatres, allowing for comparisons between the two. This period corresponds to David Garrick's (1717-79) term as patentee and manager of Drury Lane theatre (1747-76), and represents a particular generation of personnel in the London theatre world.

(4) See Lynch; Pedicord; Price; Burling; Brewer; Moody.

(5) In studies of a range of cultural forms--visual arts, drama, music, print culture--historians have identified a shift away from the realm of the court and elite patronage to the public sphere of the marketplace. This is not to suggest that theatrical proprietors from the early modern period were unconcerned with business or the day-to-day realities of making a living; rather, that in the eighteenth century commercial imperatives of cultural production became much more pressing as the arts opened up to wider audiences. The eighteenth century witnessed a significant transformation in cultural institutions as novel ventures such as assembly rooms, public art galleries, music rooms and pleasure gardens vied with one another for customers in a burgeoning leisure industry. See works cited in note 1.

(6) See Milhous, "Company Management" on the changing salary structure of company finances.

(7) For biographies of the above performers see Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 1:12-20, 325-39, 339-51, 3: 262-82, 9: 26-43.

(8) Covent Garden's treasurer provided a detailed list of the theatre's staff and salaries in the opening pages of his account book for the 1766-67 season.

(9) On the difficulties faced by tradesmen and retailers when trying to collect debts owed to them by aristocratic customers see Earle, The Making of the English Middle Class, 116-17.

(10) See also Burnim 73-75; Rosenfeld 19-20, and ch. 5.

(11) BL Add. MSS 12,201, ff. 34-61.

(12) See also Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 3: 404-20, 7: 137-39.

(13) On tailor's "cabbage" see reference in Campbell 192. On proprietorial disputes over workers' perquisites more generally see Linebaugh 245-48.

(14) See also Powel f. 35.

(15) See also Mortimer Part III, 110. Mortimer's Director is unusual for its time in its more detailed listing of shopkeepers and skilled artisans, in addition to the city's more prominent merchants. Even in this source, few of the above theatrical suppliers are to be found.

(16) See Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1766-67 f. 100; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 f.101; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1772-73 f.101; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1773-74 f.67.

(17) See also Mortimer, Part II: 88.

(18) See Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 f. 102; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1772-73 f.100; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1775-76 f. 104.

(19) See also Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 13: 306-326.

(20) See Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1746-47 f. 149; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 152; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72 f. 82.

(21) See also Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 ff. 2-4.

(22) An entry in the Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 for 29 September 1766 records 17 weeks of salary to September 21 paid to Blackmore (f.10).

(23) See also Milhous and Hume, "The Tailor's Shop" 24-46.

(24) Robert D'Arcy, fourth earl of Holdernesse (1718-1778), served as a diplomat and Secretary of State in the 1740s and '50s. Interestingly, he was known to have a keen interest in directing amateur operas and masquerades. See ODNB 15: 132-34.

(25) Suppliers of finished clothing included William Paddick, Mr Russell, Levi Frederick, Ann Keene, Ann Chaloner, Thomas Luppino, Jonathan Anderson and Mrs Buchoke (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72 ff. 18, 22, 33, 34, 37, 56, 83, 90).

(26) In a forthcoming article on "Women, Production and the Eighteenth-Century London Stage" I will be exploring Rein's journal in more depth. Here I am interested in what her accounts reveal about local suppliers to the theatre.

(27) See also Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 ff. 60, 67, 89, 121, 124.

(28) For a brief entry on Carne, see Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 3: 76.

(29) Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72 ff. 46, 147; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 24, 35, 45, 73, 101; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1772-73 ff. 25, 33, 51, 67, 102; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1773-74 ff. 33. 49, 55, 67, 102.

(30) Mr Dorman also received 10[pounds sterling] 10s "for attending practices of Dances, as usual."

(31) See also Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 ff. 58, 101; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1772-73 f.51; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 ff. 5, 7.

(32) Both Covent Garden and Drury Lane received separate payments from the proprietors of both the Public Advertiser and the Daily Gazeteer. An entry in Covent Garden's accounts for 10 June 1767 records the receipt from Mr Woodfall of "one year's profit of the Public Advertizer as Per Agreement at 100[pounds sterling] Per Annum" (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 150v). The following year the payment from the Public Advertiser appears to have been reduced to 50 [pounds sterling] (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1767-68 f. 155v). Drury Lane's treasury also started out with a more substantial payment from Woodfall of 146 [pounds sterling] 17s 6d in June of 1767 (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1766-67 f. 98v). By the early 1770s both theatres received regular payments of 50[pounds sterling] per newspaper per season from both the Daily Gazeteer and the Public Advertiser (Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 100v; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1774-75 f. 100v; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1769-70 f. 153v.; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1772-73 f. 1v).

(33) Of the many contributions to this debate see Collier; Richardson, The Apprentice's Vade Mecum; The Stage the High Road to Hell.

(34) A sample of Drury Lane's business with Ben Jonson's Head may be found in Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1766-67 ff. 5, 6, 9, 12, 15 and weekly bills thereafter. For a sample of the Black Lyon's bills see Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1772-73 ff. 5, 7, 12, 15, 21 and weekly bills thereafter. David Garrick purchased the fee farm of the Ben Jonson's Head Tavern in 1775 in order to allow for alterations to Drury Lane Theatre. See Survey of London 33, 35. The theatre's regular patronage of the tavern long-predated this purchase.

(35) Pritchard was also listed as the top paid men's dresser in the Covent Garden servants' list of 1766, a position commonly filled by the theatre's in-house tailor (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 2).

(36) See earlier reference to Mrs Cabel at p.65. Mrs Cabel does not appear in the list of house servants or staff in the treasurer's books, but she may have been the wife of Mr Cabell, who was one of the men's dressers from 1760-66 (Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1760-61; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67, ff. 70, 152).

(37) For a sample of Carpue's business with Covent Garden see Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1766-67 f. 90; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1768-69 f. 58; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72 f. 88; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1772-73. f. 45. For his business with Drury Lane see Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 f. 101; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1773-74 f. 102; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1775-76 f104. For Mr. Bibb see Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1768-9 f. 78; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1769-70 f. 70; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72 f. 82; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1772-73 f. 48; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 f. 45; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1772-73 f. 101; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1774-75 f. 85; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1775-76 f. 54.

(38) See also Mortimer, Part 2: 51; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1771-72 f.102; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1772-73 f. 102; Drury Lane Theatre Journals 1775-76. f. 105; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1769-70 f. 154; Covent Garden Theatre Accounts 1771-72 f. 148.

(39) It is important to note, however, that accounting records were inconsistent in terms of year-to-year differences in details recorded, and in terms of differences between the two playhouses. Covent Garden's accounts were often more detailed than Drury Lane's, rendering it difficult to compare complete lists of suppliers for each theatre.

(40) For the family connections between Charles and Esther Jones, and Isabella Lampe see Highfill, Burnim & Langhans 8: 230, 16: 349-51, 9: 139.

Susan Brown is Chair of the Department of History, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada. She wishes to acknowledge the research funding provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the University of Prince Edward Island. The contributions of the following research assistants are acknowledged with thanks: Asher Fredricks, Rachel Hamming, Kara Handren, Jeff Hughes, Kyle Landry, Laura Rankin, and Rui Zhou.
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Author:Brown, Susan E.
Publication:Theatre Notebook
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 1, 2010
Words:11195
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