Pantheon Theatre collection, 1789-1833
- Physical Description:
- 12 items
- Additional Creators:
- Wyatt, James, 1746-1813
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unrestricted access.
- The collection consists primarily of architectural plans and broadsides. It includes six architectural plans of London's Pantheon Theatre; in chronological order they are: one season advertisement dated 1789, which includes a plan view of theatre seating for the earlier Great Concert Room, three undated plans of the remodeled Pantheon, circa 1790-1792; and two plans of a later, rebuilt opera theatre, dated 1831 and 1832. These items constitute one of the most complete architectural drawings for a theatre in this era, detailing stage size, placement, and seating. The circa 1791 plans document the theatre when it was under the ownership of English patrons of Italian opera, the Duke of Bedford and Marquis of Salisbury. The plans included in this collection document the extensive alterations to the exhibition hall and expansion of the building to make room for a small stage and five tiers of boxes. The collection also includes two historical accounts of unknown origin, on folio sheets--one of the Pantheon and another of the Lyceum, or English Opera. The historical sketch of the Pantheon describes its construction and architectural details first as an exhibition hall, then as the home of the Italian Opera Company, and the 1792 fire. An undated engraving in this collection titled, "Interior view of the late Pantheon Theatre as it appeared in its dilapidated state, " published at J. Netherdift's Lithographic Office, possibly dates from this era. The collection also includes three broadsides. One from 1832 seeks a lessee for the theatre. Apparently this effort failed, for two duplicate broadsides of 1833 announce an auction of the premises. The 1831 and 1832 plans noted above show nearly identical buildings, and were probably commissioned to advertise the premises.
- In Rare Books and Manuscripts, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University, UniversityPark, Pa. (#1988-0085R/Paterno/MP/MC/R/20.13)
- Administrative History:
- The Duke of Bedford and Marquis of Salisbury sought to build a theatre for the performance of Italian opera after a 1789 fire destroyed the Haymarket Theatre. In early summer 1790 they struck an agreement to remodel and expand the great rotunda of an Oxford Street exhibition hall called the Pantheon. To reconstruct the building as a theatre, they obtained the services of the Pantheon's original architect, James Wyatt. The original Pantheon, built between 1769 and 1772, was called a "wonder" and "the most elegant structure in Europe." The opera group sought to create a more intimate and exclusive theatre to compete with the large and successful King's Theatre. The venture proved unprofitable, and in 1791 the opera company left the theatre, with investors responsible to return the premises to the original condition. The terrific financial loss this incurred prompted charges of arson when a fire broke out in 1792 that left only the exterior walls intact. The Pantheon was rebuilt as an assembly hall in 1795, and as a "superb" operatic theatre in 1812. Apparently this venture proved equally unsuccessful, as ownership changed frequently over the next three years.
View MARC record | catkey: 7521764