SAMUEL PHELPS - AUTOGRAPH NOTE SIGNED - HFSID 304700
Sale Price $90.00
Signed pass for three boxes for a theatrical performance in Birmingham, affixed to a sheet with a typed biography of the Shakespearean actor
Autograph Note signed: "Friday May 29th/T. R. [Theatre Royal] Birmingham/Two Three Boxes/S Phelps", 3x1½ card affixed to 8x5 paper. English actor Samuel Phelps (1804-1878) was considered the finest King Lear of his generation, and was also celebrated for his Falstaff. He specialized in Shakespeare from his first London appearance (as Shylock) at the Haymarket Theatre in 1837. Phelps' greatest importance lies, however, in his successful efforts to revive historically authentic versions of Shakespeare's plays, which had been appearing in bowdlerized versions for nearly two centuries. In 1843, Parliament repealed the Patent Monopoly, first created by King Charles II during the Restoration. (Most theatrical works had been banned entirely under Oliver Cromwell.) The Monopoly required strictly limited by license the theatres which could perform "serious drama." With this restriction gone, Phelps went to work as manager of Sadler's Wells Theatre to produce the original versions of the Bard's plays, as opposed to vulgarized adaptations. For example, King Lear had been performed with a happy ending; Phelps restored the authentic Shakespeare. In addition, he produced some Shakespeare plays, including Measure for Measure, which hadn't been staged since the original productions at the Globe Theatre in the early 1600s! Phelps thus set the pattern for Shakespearean drama and comedy which has been followed since. Unknown residue at face (not affecting signature). Soiled. Otherwise, fine condition.
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