Academic journal article Philological Quarterly

Evidence of Restoration Performances: Duke Ferdinand Albrecht's Annotated Playtexts from 1664-65

Academic journal article Philological Quarterly

Evidence of Restoration Performances: Duke Ferdinand Albrecht's Annotated Playtexts from 1664-65

Article excerpt

Annotated English playtexts at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuttel, Germany, provide significant performance documentation for the early Restoration stage that not only corroborates the sketchy records already known but also add previously unrecorded performances. Duke Ferdinand Albrecht of Braunschweig-Luneburg (1636-1687), the youngest son of Duke August for whom the library was named, purchased these English playtexts during his ten-month visit to London from 12 May 1664 to 16 March 1664/5, when he immersed himself in London theatre culture.

Ferdinand Albrecht's annotated performance data are extremely valuable given the limited state of knowledge of Restoration theatre history. Since theatrical documents such as playbills and newspaper advertisements did not survive until the turn of the century, modern understanding of the Restoration repertory is extremely incomplete. Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, who are currently revising The London Stage, Part 1: 1660-1700, conclude that "we know no more than about 7 per cent of the performances that were given in these years (versus nearly 100 per cent after 1706)."(1) Duke Ferdinand Albrecht is an extremely reliable eyewitness of the Restoration theatre, joining the ranks of main sources of The London Stage for performance data of the early 1660s--Sir Henry Herbert (Master of the Revels), Samuel Pepys, John Evelyn, and other diarists and foreign travellers who wrote about attending the London theatre.

During his London sojourn or after his return to Europe Ferdinand Albrecht noted the place and time of performance on the title pages of eight English plays: Sir George Etherege's The Comical Revenge, James Shirley's The Court Secret, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher's The Scornfull Lady, Thomas Killigrew's The Parson's Wedding, William Shakespeare's Hamlet, James Shirley's The Cardinal, John Webster's The White Devil, and Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy.(2) His annotations for all eight of these plays provide unique performance records; in fact, five provide the only documentation for a production of any of these plays in 1664-65. An additional four plays have no title-page annotations: John Dryden's The Rival Ladies, John Tatham's The Rump, the anonymous The Unfortunate Usurper, and John Wilson's The Projectors. Since he customarily annotated the title pages of all the plays that he attended during his grand tour in Italy, France, and England, from 1658 to 1665, Ferdinand Albrecht's purchase of these four unannotated playtexts at this time, although interesting, does not necessarily imply that he attended performances.

Gillian Bepler, the Director of Research at the Herzog August Bibliothek, is the primary authority on Ferdinand Albrecht's grand tour. Her account of his involvement in London cultural life in 1664-65 and of the English books that he acquired at that time has provided the foundation for my research.(3) Unfortunately, the Duke's travel diary for the period of his London visit is lost; his later surviving diary entries include information about the plays staged at his various residences in Bevern, Bremen, and Hamburg, even with details of plot and casting.(4) His printed travelogue, the Wunderliche Begebnusse, published in 1679, contains only a cursory description of his London sojourn with no literary comments; moreover, his personal letters to and from Duke August, his father, shed little light on his theatrical activities while on his grand tour. An inventory of the more than 3,000 volumes with autograph provenance annotations at his library at Bevern Castle entitled the Nachlassinventar and prepared in 1687 soon after his death is extant, but unfortunately the actual volume containing his Restoration plays, listed in the inventory as Allerhand Englische [sic] und Frantzosische Comoedien und Balletten, has been disbound (FA, 38, 74, 235; CT, 220-21, 223). Bepler surmises that the English playtexts, once part of that theatrical volume, were probably dispersed throughout the Wolfenbuttel Collection.

In 1760 Ferdinand Albrecht's collection came into the Herzog August Bibliothek and is now archived in what is called the Middle Collection, consisting of additions to Duke August's original collection made during Leibniz's and Lessing's tenures as librarians (1690-1781). However, only sixty percent of Ferdinand Albrecht's original collection is at the Wolfenbuttel library, with a small percentage of the remaining forty percent lost or archived either at the nearby Braunsweig Museum or at the University Library.(5) Ferdinand Albrecht undoubtedly purchased these early Restoration playtexts during his London visit, for, as Bepler points out, "Ferdinand Albrecht seems to have owned no English texts at all before he left Wolfenbuttel and, with the notable exception of Christopher Sutton's Godly Meditations (London 1641) and Elias Ashmole's Order of the Garter (London 1672), to have purchased few English works after his return to Germany in 1665" (FA, 235). His playtext annotations could have been made shortly after attending a performance or reconstructed later from his lost travel diary.(6) The rebinding and cropping of the library's Restoration playtexts, probably in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, has in some instances destroyed annotated evidence of provenance (CT, 223).

My discussion of Ferdinand Albrecht's English playtexts is divided into three parts: (1) a description of his involvement in Restoration culture, (2) an account of the stage history for the playtexts that he purchased in London, and (3) a concluding summary of his London theatrical experience. Although these twelve playtexts, as Bepler emphasizes, "probably represent a small number of the actual total of productions seen by Ferdinand Albrecht while he was in London," they offer significant evidence for the Restoration stage that extends existing records (FA, 213).


The learned and eccentric Ferdinand Albrecht was an avid collector of books, manuscripts, and rare curiosities. He immersed himself in Restoration culture primarily through the patronage of his cousin, Prince Rupert of the Palatinate, whose "Edelman" (nobleman) named Herrn Taupedel escorted him around London. He also was introduced to court society by his tutor, Hieronymous Hainhofer, a German who served as a professional tutor to many children of the English nobility (FA, 149-50; CT, 226, 230). As a souvenir of his encounter with English royalty, Ferdinand Albrecht hung in his ducal residence at Bevern a portrait of Charles II and another of the Countess of Castlemaine, the King's mistress. Costumed as a member of the Cavalier Parliament, he had his own portrait painted in 1664 by Gratiana le Wright, the wife of the portrait painter John Michael Wright (FA, 164-65). Reflecting his close relationship with Prince Rupert while in London is his copy of a German poem celebrating Rupert's admission to the Order of the Garter in 1661 (FA, 244).

When he was made a founding member of the Royal Society in January 1664/5, Ferdinand Albrecht subscribed his name in the Statute Book after the signatures of the King, the Duke of York, and Prince Rupert, later declining an English interpreter since he had become fluent enough in English to follow their proceedings (CT, 226; FA, 186).(7) He may not have known any English before he arrived in London, as Bepler notes, for at that time "there was no book available to help Germans to learn English directly" (FA, 150); the various dictionaries and other books that he bought in London to learn English are all preserved at the Herzog August Bibliothek (FA, 149-56). Familiar with Sir Francis Bacon's essays in German, Ferdinand Albrecht took literally Bacon's dictum for learning English by seeing plays (CT, 226-27).

While in London Ferdinand Albrecht purchased English books other than playtexts that reflected his aristocratic taste, his avid interest in public affairs, and his active involvement in the culture of the early 1660s.(8) He had a special interest in royalist politics and history, the Acts of Parliament, Anglo-Dutch relations, the infamous comet of 1664/5, and the contemporary criminal Mary Carleton. In fact, he could have attended a revival, if any, of John Holden's The German Princess by the Duke's Company at Lincoln's Inn Fields, starring Mary Carleton herself, who eventually met her fate in 1673 at Tyburn (CT, 229-30).(9) For the duration of his London visit from 12 May 1664 to 16 March 1664/5, he amassed a complete collection of Roger L'Estrange's official weekly newsbooks, The Intelligencer and The Newes, which routinely contained advertisements for published playtexts.(10)

Duke Ferdinand Albrecht's visit to London coincided with the two London theatrical seasons immediately preceding the closing of the theatres on 10 June 1665 because of the plague. The seasons of 1663-64 and 1664-65 established the two patent play-houses under the management of Thomas Killigrew at Bridges Street and Sir William Davenant at Lincoln's Inn Fields. Plays also were presented by the King's and Duke's companies at the Cockpit at Court and at the Inns of Court. The early years of the Restoration theatre are characterized by Hume as a period when revivals and adaptations of old plays coexisted with the slow development of new plays, no professional playwrights were financially supported by the patent theatres, and competition increased between the patent theatres to the point that in 1664-65 Killigrew realized that he needed more new plays to compete with Davenant's spectacular productions.(11) As Bepler points out, "The London theatre must have been a novel experience for Ferdinand Albrecht, even though he was familiar with court theatre in Paris and Lyons and with the famous operas in Italy. London provided him with his first impression of professional city theatre" (CT, 224).

Ferdinand Albrecht's eight annotated title pages indicate that he attended six plays at the Theatre Royal in Bridges Street and two at Lincoln's Inn Fields. The Duke's apparent preference for Killigrew's theatre is not the result of a marked social class distinction between the audiences at the two patent theatres. Most Restoration critics now agree that the heterogeneous Restoration theatre audiences had relatively homogeneous theatrical tastes regardless of acting company or performance venue: they could all appreciate the refined rhetoric and spectacle of the heroic plays as well as the bawdy innuendos and ribaldry of low London comedy and farce.(12) Perhaps the best explanation for his seeming pattern of theatre attendance is that many more of the English playtexts purchased by the Duke in London are either lost or dispersed so that available attendance statistics are only partial.


My discussion of Ferdinand Albrecht's twelve Restoration playtexts is designed to reconstruct the contemporary conditions for the performances that he definitely or possibly attended. His eight annotated playtexts are discussed in chronological order by performance dates. Records in Part 1 of The London Stage are compared with his title-page annotations indicating time and place of performance; other contexts, such as performance history, cast lists, and textual adaptations or revisions, are provided if relevant. The four unannotated playtexts are discussed briefly in a contemporary theatrical and political context.

What does this new performance evidence tell us about the repertory in 1664-65? It confirms the popular revivals of old plays, particularly those of Beaumont and Fletcher, Shakespeare, Webster, and Shirley. It adds a performance of an early new play, Etherege's The Comical Revenge, and possibly of Dryden's The Rival Ladies. Finally, it demonstrates that plays satirizing puritan politics were popular both in the theatre and with readers.

Moreover, ancillary evidence suggests that Ferdinand Albrecht might have seen Walter Clun, the famous Restoration actor of the early 1660s, perform one or more of his many leading roles.(13) The Duke's collection of prints and engravings contained a broadsheet elegy on Clun's sensational death on 2 August 1664.(14) One of the best and most experienced actors in Killigrew's Company, Clun had performed his starring role as Subtle in The Alchymist at the Bridges Street Theatre the night he was murdered riding near Tatnam Court at Kentish Town on his way to his country house.(15) Perhaps Ferdinand Albrecht attended one of Clun's performances as Subtle and purchased the broadsheet as a souvenir.


Sir George Etherege. The Comical Revenge; or, Love In A Tub. London: Henry Herringman, 1664.

According to The London Stage, the "date of the first performance is not known," but since Evelyn records a performance on 27 April 1664, the editors infer that it must have been produced at Lincoln's Inn Fields sometime before Easter (10 April) of that year, thus recording a premiere for March 1664. Milhous and Hume, however, prefer a premiere date circa 16 April 1664.(16) On the title page of the quarto that he purchased Ferdinand Albrecht wrote "Acted [Lin]coln=Inn [the]atre, the [date?] being the [day after?] Pentecost" (see Figure 1). Given that Pentecost was traditionally the seventh Sunday after Easter, he probably attended a performance by the Duke's Company on Monday, 30 May 1664. During the 1663-64 season its popularity was reflected in net profits of 1000 [pounds sterling] for a month's run of approximately fifteen days; in fact, from 1664 to 1667 The Comical Revenge and Sir Martin Marall were the Duke's Company's chief moneymakers.(17) The quarto was advertised in The Newes on 3 November 1664 as "worthy of a Particular Recommendation."(18) The London Stage records ten performances between its first production and 1672.


John Downes, the prompter for the Duke's Company, includes a cast list for a performance of The Comical Revenge in the early 1660s: Thomas Betterton as Lord Beauford, William Smith as Colonel Bruce, Henry Norris as Lovis, James Nokes as Sir Nicholas Cully, Cave Underhill as Palmer, Samuel Sanford as Wheadle, Mary Saunderson Betterton as Graciana, Moll Davies as Aurelia, Jane Long as the Widow, Henry Harris as Sir Frederick Frollick, and Joseph Price as Dufoy.(19) Betterton and his wife were essential to the play's remarkable success, for when Pepys saw the performance at the new Hall Theatre in 1666, he lamented the lack of the talented acting couple in the leading roles, judging the whole performance as extremely "ill" and unpleasant.(20)

James Shirley. The Court Secret. London: Humphrey Robinson and Humphrey Moseley, 1653.

The London Stage records a single performance of this tragicomedy, presumably at the Bridges Street Theatre, reported by Pepys for 18 August 1664.(21) Ferdinand Albrecht bought Shirley's Six New Playes, annotating the title page with his characteristic provenance data for his library holdings, "F. A. D. of B. and L. London 1664," and on the title page for The Court Secret he wrote "Acted at the Theatre Royal in Covent=Garden in the August Month. 1664" (see Figure 2). His annotation provides new evidence that indeed a performance occurred in August at the Bridges Street Theatre; however, whether or not this production was the premiere or another performance in an August run is indeterminable.


A manuscript cast list is included in a copy of Shirley's Six New Playes in the Brotherton Collection at the University of Leeds for a revival of The Court Secret in the early 1660s, most likely sometime between autumn 1661 and August 1664.(22) According to annotations next to the dramatis personae, an early King's Company cast featured Edward Shatterell as the King of Spain, Nicholas Burt as Roderigo, Charles Hart as Manuel, Rebecca Marshall as Maria, Edward Kynaston as Antonio, Elizabeth Weaver as Isabella, Nicholas Blagden as Mendoza, Major Mohun as Carlo, Margaret Rutter as Clara, Walter Clun as Piracquo, Marmaduke Watson and John Lacy as Two Lords, William Winterton as Pedro, Dick Ingle as Page to Carlo, and John Benion as Castellano.(23)

Another hand has added names of actors and actresses at character entrances throughout the playtext that suggest another performance with some recasting (some of the names confirm the dramatis personae annotations).(24) Since Clun had been murdered on 2 August 1664, obviously necessitating some immediate recasting, Ferdinand Albrecht would have seen some version of this original casting in August 1664.

Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. The Scornfull Lady. London: Humphrey Moseley, 1651.

No record for a September 1664 performance of The Scornfull Lady exists in the The London Stage. On the title page of his quarto, Ferdinand Albrecht wrote "Acted at the Theatre Rojal in Covent=Garden, the 26 of 7ber [September]. 1664" (see Figure 3). The London Stage notes only two shows at Bartholomew Fair for September 1664, citing the entries in Pepys' Diary, so this revival is a significant addition to the repertory for the beginning of this theatrical season. The London Stage records ten performances between 1660 and 1668.


Obviously a popular revival during the 1660s, it was included by Downes among his "Principal Old Stock Plays." He lists the following cast for a production most likely prior to the closing of the theatres in June 1665: Nicholas Burt as Elder Loveless, Edward Kynaston as Younger Loveless, Charles Hart as Welford, John Lacy as Sir Roger, Anne Marshall as The Lady, Margaret Rutter as Martha, and Katharine Corey as Abigail.(25) John Lacy's characterization of Sir Roger, the household priest, became a favorite of Restoration audiences.

Thomas Killigrew. The Parson's Wedding. London: J. M. for Henry Herringman, 1663.

The London Stage records performances of this comedy by the King's Company at the Bridges Street Theatre for 5 and 11 October 1664, acted entirely by women. Ferdinand Albrecht purchased an expensive folio of Killigrew's Comedies, and Tragedies, noting on the title page "Ferdinand Albert Duke of Brounswic and Lunebourg. London 1664. pro. 13 shilling," and on the title page of The Parson's Wedding he recorded a performance "Acted at the Theatre Rojal in Covent=garden, in the Month 8ber [October]. 1664." (see Figure 4). His annotation adds another performance to the October run already recorded, which is also confirmed in a German manuscript newsletter (quoted below).


The London Stage records only one more performance of The Parson's Wedding by the King's Company at the old theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields in June 1672 before they moved to their new theatre in Drury Lane the following year. It was part of a series of plays that month, including Philaster and Secret Love, that were acted with all female casts.

Written before the outbreak of civil war, possibly during the summer of 1640 or 1641, The Parson's Wedding satirized cavaliers recently returned from the King's wars with the Scottish rebels, scheming Presbyterian divines, members of Parliament, and other political activists--topics that resonated in the tense early years of the Restoration settlement.(26) The author of a German manuscript newsletter from London reporting on the week ending 21 October 1664, which reached the Wolfenbuttel court, emphasized the scandalous nature of Killigrew's comedy:

A comedy has been performed here which people call the Parson's Wedding at which the King was present with Madame Castlemaine and saw the same performed three times. It was acted by women, some of whom play the men's parts dressed in men's clothes so well that the King caused them alone to be given all the money. The clergy has not approved of this comedy and rather taken offence at the fact that many Aretino terms are used and that one preacher (although in Presbyterian garb) is portrayed as a cuckold and so much matter taken from the whorehouses is also treated of. (FA, 212)(27)

Even Pepys reported that he had been told that Killigrew's comedy was a "bawdy loose play," and apparently chose not to see it.(28)

William Shakespeare. The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. London: R. Young for John Smethwicke, 1637.

No record of a November 1664 performance of Hamlet exists in The London Stage. Ferdinand Albrecht purchased the sixth edition, writing on the title page "Acted in the theatre in Lincoln's Inn=Fields the 4 of 9ber [November]. 1664" (see Figure 5).(29) The sixth edition, the last pre-Commonwealth quarto, served as the source for the Restoration alteration of Hamlet first printed in 1676, attributed to Sir William Davenant.(30) Shakespeare's third folio had also been printed in 1663 and re-issued in 1664.(31)


Ferdinand Albrecht undoubtedly saw a version of Hamlet cut for performance. The London Stage indexes the Restoration performances of Hamlet as "performances," "performances of Davenant [sic] revision," and "revival of [Davenant's revision]," implying that perhaps both original and revised performances occurred shortly after the theatres re-opened.(32) Although no conclusive evidence exists that accurately represents the earlier productions, most critics since Hazelton Spencer in 1927 agree that performances of Hamlet in the early 1660s were that of Davenant's revision printed in the 1676 edition, which according to Milhous and Hume, was "basically a production adaptation" slightly cut for performance.(33)

Downes reports the following Duke's Company cast performing Hamlet in the early 1660s: Thomas Betterton as Hamlet, Henry Harris as Horatio, Thomas Lilliston as the King, John Richards as the Ghost, Thomas Lovell as Polonius, James Dixon as Rosencrantz, Joseph Price as Guildenstern, Cave Underhill as the first Gravedigger, Mr. Dacres as the second Gravedigger, Hester Davenport as the Queen, and Mary Saunderson as Ophelia.(34) Betterton's Hamlet, considered by Pepys as his best role and reputedly based on the Shakespeare/Burbage interpretation, set a standard until Garrick. Mary Sanderson's Ophelia was the debut of her distinguished career playing Shakespeare's women, and Cave Underhill's first gravedigger was his most famous role throughout the Restoration.(35)

James Shirley. The Cardinal. London: Humphrey Robinson and Humphrey Moseley, 1652.

No record for a November 1664 performance of The Cardinal exists in The London Stage. On the title page of The Cardinal in his copy of Six New Playes Ferdinand Albrecht wrote "Acted in Covent--garden the 18 of 9ber [November] 1664" (see Figure 6). Along with Davenant's productions of Hamlet and Macbeth and Digby's Elvira; or, The Worst Not Always True, Ferdinand Albrecht's annotation adds yet another play to the repertory for that month. The London Stage records five performances of this popular revival during the 1660s.


The cast list for an early 1660s production noted in the printed quarto in the Brotherton Library at Leeds University includes leading actors of the King's Company before Clun's murder in August 1664: Nicholas Blagden as the King of Navarre, Nicholas Burt as the Cardinal, Major Mohun as Columbo, Edward Kynaston as Alvarez, Charles Hart as Hernando, Marmaduke Watson as Alphonso, William Wintersell as First Lord, Theophilus Bird Sr. (died 1663) or Theophilus Bird, Jr. as Second Lord, Walter Clun as Secretary, and [Thomas?] B. Bateman as Antonelli.(36) Rebecca Marshall probably played one of the women's roles.(37) Most likely this was the nucleus of the cast that performed in November 1664 when Ferdinand Albrecht was in the audience. Obviously enjoying Charles Hart's stellar performance as Hernando, Pepys saw the play at least three times between 1662 and 1668, each time enjoying it more until he could actually deem it "a good play."(38)

John Webster. The White Devil, Or, Vittoria Corombona, A Lady of Venice. London: G. Miller for John Playfere and William Crooke, 1665.

The London Stage includes this revenge tragedy in the repertoire for the 1664-65 season under the category of published plays, implying performance, since a new edition appeared in 1665.(39) Ferdinand Albrecht purchased this play, writing on the title page "Acted in C[o]ventgarden in the Moneth [De]cember. 1664," thus providing a unique record of performance that precedes the 1665 publication (see Figure 7).(40)


The London Stage records three performances by the King's Company at the Vere Street Theatre in 1661; performances at the Bridges Street Theatre are inferred from publication data for 1665 and 1672. On 2 October 1661 Pepys arrived at the theatre late and, obtaining a bad seat, concluded that he "never had so little pleasure in a play in my life"; two days later, again arriving late, he saw a few scenes of the same play, which pleased him "worse then it did the other day." Once again, Pepys' critical judgment was affected primarily by his mood and social discomfort, for this early Jacobean play, when well performed, quite satisfied Restoration audiences.(41)

Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. The Maids Tragedy. London: n.p., 1661.

No record for a December 1664 performance of The Maid's Tragedy is included in the The London Stage. Ferdinand Albrecht purchased this play, writing on the title page "Acted at the Theat[re] Royal, th[e] 17 Xber [December]. 1664. in Covent Garden" (see Figure 8). Ferdinand Albrecht's annotation is a significant addition to The London Stage's December 1664 repertory of three productions--Lacy's The Old Troop at the Bridges Street Theatre, Davenant's The Rivals at Lincoln's Inn Fields, and an unnamed play by the King's Company at the Cockpit at Court.


The Maid's Tragedy was popular theatrical fare throughout the first decade of the Restoration period. The London Stage lists probable revivals in 1660 at the Red Bull and seven performances between 1660 and 1668 by the King's Company. When Pepys attended performances at the Bridges Street Theatre on 15 April and 9 May 1668, he recorded that he had seen "a good play."(42)

Downes includes a King's Company cast for early productions of The Maid's Tragedy, which Hume dates from 1663-64 to 1677.(43) These productions featured William Wintersel as the King, Major Mohun as Melantius, Charles Hart as Amintor, William Shatterel as Calianax, Rebecca Marshall as Evadne, and Elizabeth Davenport Boutel as Aspatia. The play's female sexuality and violent spectacle provided good parts for the new actresses.(44) Pepys particularly praised Rebecca Marshall's acting in the December 1666 production.(45) Charles Hart excelled in his role as Amintor, filling the house each time he performed this role "as at a New Play."(46)

Ferdinand Albrecht could have seen in 1664 Sir Edmund Waller's version of The Maid's Tragedy with an alternate ending. Waller's version was composed and possibly performed circa 1664; however, as Hume suggests, if it was performed, the "King's Company might well have tried the alternate ending, learned quickly that it would find no favor, and abandoned it."(47)


Of the four unannotated Restoration playtexts extant in Ferdinand Albrecht's book collection at Wolfenbuttel, only John Dryden's The Rival Ladies (1664) is a likely candidate for the Duke's having attended a performance.(48) The London Stage records performances of this tragicomedy by the King's Company at the Bridges Street Theatre for June and 4 August 1664. An extremely popular play, it was one of a few new plays that Killigrew produced during this early theatrical period at the theatre most frequently attended by Ferdinand Albrecht. It was advertised in The Newes on 3 November 1664.(49)

Three other unannotated playtexts purchased by Ferdinand Albrecht provide evidence of his interest in anti-Puritan satire in the early 1660s. The horrid symbols of English regicide remained vivid memories throughout Ferdinand Albrecht's life, for in his travelogue he remembered the impaled heads of Cromwell, Bradshaw, and Ireton at Westminster Hall, the pillaged tombs of Cromwell and his family at Westminster Abbey, and the pit at Tyburn where the mutilated body parts of Cromwell, Bradshaw, and Ireton were buried.(50)

John Tatham's The Rump: or The Mirrour of the Late Times (1661) vigorously satirizes Commonwealth leaders involved in the politically tumultous events from October 1659 to February 1660.(51) The London Stage records a performance of this comedy at a private house in Dorset Court for June 1660 and at Oxford for 13 July 1661. Performance also is inferred based on publication in 1661 of the revised second edition.(52)

The anonymous The Unfortunate Usurper (1663), probably written in the early 1640s and later revised, was one of three plays published in 1663-64 using the life of the tyrannical, twelfth-century Byzantine emperor Andronicus Comnenus to satirize Puritan politics.(53) The London Stage contains no record of performance or publication for The Unfortunate Usurper. Although Ferdinand Albrecht's purchase adds new evidence for performance to support the "Epilogue to the Spectators" in the 1663 edition, the play's large cast of eighteen characters and its rather slow-paced blank verse suggest closet drama.

John Wilson's The Projectors (1665) satirizes credulous Puritan citizens engaging in speculative financial schemes.(54) Much of the satire is directed toward Robert Hooke, the Royal Society's famous Curator of Experiments, whose Micrographia, published in 1665, was widely read by the scientific community. Although Ferdinand Albrecht's library inventory did not contain a copy of Hooke's popular folio, he most certainly was familiar with this seminal work; in fact, Bepler notes that the copy of the Micrographia catalogued in Duke August's collection was probably "given to him by Ferdinand Albrecht on his return from England," and that the aged Duke's failed plan to have it translated into German signified the importance of this text in the Wolfenbuttel collection (FA, 251). No record of performance or publication of this early comedy is included in The London Stage.


The Wolfenbuttel Restoration playtexts verify that during the 1663-64 season Ferdinand Albrecht attended plays possibly as early as June, a month after his arrival, and certainly at the end of the summer in August; during the 1664-65 season he was at the theatre in September, October, November, and December. Documentation is lacking regarding his theatre attendance during January, February, and March. His annotated collection particularly enhances current knowledge of the sketchy November 1664 repertory by adding performances of Hamlet and The Cardinal. Moreover, he could have seen Mary Carleton in a revival of The German Princess and the actor Clun in one or more of his many successful roles. Since the textual evidence of his London playgoing has been dispersed, Ferdinand Albrecht presumably saw performances of many other plays during his ten-month London visit that are unrecorded in either his library collection or our main reference works.

What other plays could he have seen at the patent and court theatres during his London visit? If he relied on the book advertisements in L'Estrange's two newsbooks as a guide for purchasing playtexts before or after performances, he could have bought Brome's The Northern Lasse, Porter's The Carnaval, Sir William Killigrew's Three Plays (including Selindra, Pandora, and Ormasdes), and a separate edition of Killigrew's Pandora.(55) Productions listed in The London Stage that he could have attended include Jonson's The Silent Woman (1 June 1664), Pompey (at Court 14 July 1664), Digby's Worse and Worse (20 July 1664), Massinger's The Bondman (28 July 1664), Jonson's Bartholomew Fair (2 August 1664) and The Alchymist (3 August 1664), Rhodes' Flora's Vagaries (8 August 1664), Orrery's History of Henry V (13 August 1664), Davenant's The Rivals (10 September 1664; 2 December 1664; 6 January 1665), Orrery's The Generall (14, 28, September 1664; 4 October 1664), possibly Thomas Killigrew's Thomaso (November 1664), Shirley's The Night-Walker (1 November 1664), Davenant's Macbeth (5 November 1664), Digby's Elvira (late November 1664), Lacy's The Old Troop (December 1664), Shirley's The Traytor (13January 1665), Jonson's Volpone (14 January 1665), possibly Sir Robert Howard's The Vestal-Virgin (February 1665), Shirley's The Changes (2 February 1665) and a masque at court (2 February 1665). Certainly, Jonson's three comedies, Orrery's two heroic tragedies, Davenant's popular Shakespearean adaptations, and John Lacy's boisterous comedy satirizing the Roundheads would have attracted him to the theatre.

He had already left England's shores for Holland when Dryden's The Indian Emperour was presented at the beginning of April at the Bridges Street Theatre. At the same time Orrery's Mustapha drew audiences to Lincoln's Inn Fields, including the King, Lady Castlemaine, and Pepys, who was delighted to have sat next to the popular actresses Nell Gwyn and Rebecca Marshall? These heroic tragedies were virtually a last gasp of spectacular public entertainment before the theatres closed in early June for a year and a half because of the plague.

Most likely other foreign travellers like Duke Ferdinand Albrecht visited England during the Restoration period, attended the London theatres, purchased playtexts, and possibly annotated them. With scholarly recovery of these unknown textual treasures in continental libraries, Restoration performance records can reflect with greater accuracy the magnitude and vibrancy of the theatrical repertory. Fortunately, to the original calendar in the revised London Stage, Part 1:1660-1700 Duke Ferdinand Albrecht's unique performance data may be added.

The Folger Shakespeare Library


(1) Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, Preface to their preliminary draft of The London Stage, Part 2:1700-1729, v. Milhous and Hume have deposited a draft of their revised calendar for Part 2 in the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Harvard Theatre Collection, the Bodleian, the Theatre Museum, and the British Library. Hume calculates that of about 13,000 performances that were probably given between 1660 and 1700, we know of less than 1,000, with about 500 of them dating to the 1660s because of Pepys' documentation ("Before the Bard: `Shakespeare' in Early Eighteenth-Century London," ELH, 64 [1997]: 74). All new style performance dates cited in this article are from The London Stage, Part I: 1660-1700, ed. William Van Lennep, Emmett L. Avery, and Arthur H. Scouten (Southern Illinois U. Press, 1965).

(2) Plays are listed in chronological order of performance in 1664-65.

(3) Jill Bepler, Ferdinand Albrecht Duke of Braunschweig-Luneburg (1636-1687): A Traveller and his Travelogue (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1988) and Jill Kohl [Bepler], "The Curious Traveller: Literary and Non-Literary Documents of a Visit to Restoration London," German Life & Letters, N.S. 36 (1983): 219-31. Future references to Bepler are hereafter cited parenthetically as "FA" (book) and "CT" (article). See FA, 209-13, and CT, 223-25 for her discussion of these English playtexts.

(4) The plays performed in Bevern were primarily adaptations of Shakespearean dramas and definitely not Restoration (Bepler, correspondence to me dated 4 August 1999).

(5) Jill Bepler reported to me that there were no playtexts at these other locations.

(6) Jill Bepler, letter to me dated 9 September 1998.

(7) See Thomas Sprat, The History of the Royal-Society of London (London: T. R. for J. Martyn and J. Allestry, 1667), 128-29; John Evelyn, The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. E. S. De Beer (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955), 3:396; and William Douglas Robson-Scott, German Travellers in England 1400-1800 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1953), 99.

(8) See Bepler, FA, for a complete list of the seventy-one "Works Acquired By Ferdinand Albrecht In London 1664/1665," 236-46. She does not include a comparable list for his manuscripts.

(9) The London Stage records a single performance on 15 April 1664. A Witty Combat or the Female Victor (pub. 1663), another play dealing with Mary Carleton, written by T. P., was most likely unperformed.

(10) For an account of L'Estrange's two weekly newsbooks published from 1663 to 1666, see James Sutherland, The Restoration Newspaper and its Development (Cambridge U. Press, 1986), 9-10. Ferdinand Albrecht s newspaper collection adds to the information for "Intelligencer/Newes" contained in British Newspapers and Periodicals 1641-1700: A Short-Title Catalogue of Serials Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, and British America, comp. Carolyn Nelson and Matthew Seccombe (New York: MLA, 1987), 128-133.

(11) Hume, "Securing a Repertory: Plays on the London Stage 1660-5" in Poetry and Drama 1570.1700, eds. Antony Coleman and Antony Hammond (London and New York: Methuen, 1981), 156-72.

(12) Hume, The Development of English Drama in the Late Seventeenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), 23-28; Nancy Klein Maguire, Regicide and Restoration: English Tragicomedy, 1660-1671 (Cambridge U. Press, 1992), 103-108. The best analysis of the Restoration audience is Allan Richard Botica's "Audience, Playhouse and Play in Restoration Theatre 1660-1710" (D. Phil. Thesis, Oxford, 1985).

(13) For an account of Clun's theatrical career, see Philip H. Highfill, Jr., Kalman A. Burnim, and Edward A. Langhans, A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800, 16 vols. (Southern Illinois U. Press, 1975), 3:36667; hereafter referred to as Biographical Dictionary.

(14) An Elegy Upon the Most Execrable Murther of Mr Clun, On of the Comedeans of the Theatre Royal, Who Was Rob'd and Most Inhumanely Killed On Tuesday Night, Being the 2nd of August 1664, Near Tatnam- Court, as He Was Riding To His Country-house At Kentishtown (1664); rpt. in A Little Ark, ed. G. Thorn-Drury (London: P.J. & A. E. Dobell, 1921), 30-31.

(15) Although the elegy dates Clun's murder on the night of 2 August 1664, The London Stage, relying on Pepys, records Clun's final performance in The Alchymist on 3 August 1664.

(16) Hume, correspondence to me dated 26 September 1998.

(17) John Downes, Roscius Anglicanus, or, an Historical Review of the Stage from 1660 to 1706, ed. Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume (London: The Society for Theatre Research, 1987), 56-57.

(18) Sybil Rosenfeld, "Dramatic Advertisements in the Burney Newspapers 1660-1700," PMLA 51 (1936): 130.

(19) Downes, 56.

(20) The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed. Robert Latham and William Matthews, 11 vols. (U. of California Press, 1970-1983), 7:347. Hereafter all references to Pepys are cited as Diary.

(21) Pepys erroneously called it a "new play" and did not indicate a specific theatre (Diary, 5:246). Langbaine was the first to imply that it was performed by the King's Company at the Bridges Street Theatre (An Account of the English Dramatick Poets, introd. John Loftis [Los Angeles: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, 1971], 2:475). In "Manuscript Casts for Revivals of Three Plays by Shirley in the 1660s," Theatre Notebook, 39 (1985): 35-36, Milhous and Hume propose that Pepys could have seen a King's Company revival with re-casting or a Duke's Company performance, revised by Davenant and Ellis. The Secret, a lost play attributed to Davenant and Ellis, is mentioned in a version of "A Session of the Poets," written in 1664 but not published until 1668.

(22) Milhous and Hume, "Manuscript Casts," 34.

(23) Milhous and Hume, "Manuscript Casts," 34.

(24) Milhous and Hume, "Manuscript Casts," 34-35. I have used the Biographical Dictionary to reconstruct full, accurate names for this recasting: Major Mohun as Roderigo, Nicholas Burt as Carlo, William Cartwright as Mendoza, Dick Ingle as Page, Marmaduke Watson and John Lacy as two gentlemen, Robert Shatterell as a Gentleman, a Lord, and Julio, Thomas Bateman as a servant, a Courtier, and a Lord, Marmaduke Watson as a messenger, and Nell Gwyn as a Lady to Isabella.

(25) Downes, 18.

(26) Alfred Harbage, Cavalier Drama (New York: MLA, 1936), 177.

(27) I am indebted to Jill Bepler for her translation of this German quotation.

(28) Pepys, Diary, 5:294.

(29) Bepler did not include Hamlet in her book or article on the Duke's English playtexts because it was misleadingly catalogued in Duke August's collection. In his Great Libraries (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1970), Anthony Hobson erroneously included the 1637 quarto of Hamlet among Duke August's limited collection of English books (204).

(30) William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark (London: Andr. Clark for J. Martyn and H. Herringman, 1676).

(31) Mr. William Shakespear's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies (London: Philip Chetwinde, 1664).

(32) London Stage, cclxxii.

(33) Hazelton Spencer, Shakespeare Improved: The Restoration Versions in Quarto and on the Stage (Harvard U. Press, 1927), 183-84; Milhous and Hume, "Attribution Problems in English Drama, 1660-1700," Harvard Library Bulletin, 31 (1983): 18. Milhous' and Hume's argument is supported by the fact that it was the only one of Davenant's anonymous printed adaptations that retained Shakespeare's name on the titlepage. For Davenant's productions of Hamlet see also Mongi Raddadi, Davenant's Adaptations of Shakespeare (Stockholm: Uppsala, 1979), 11; Gary Taylor, Reinventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History, from the Restoration to the Present (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989), 4647; and Michael Dobson, The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation and Authorship, 1660-1769, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 28.

(34) Downes, 51-52. Milhous and Hume suggest that the actor Richards and the actress Mrs. Davenport point to a performance date "of 1661 or very early 1662" (51). Mary Saunderson soon became Mrs. Thomas Betterton.

(35) Although the first unidentified woman performed on the London stage in a production of Othello, staged by Killigrew circa 8 December 1660, she "cannot rival Mary Saunderson as the first identified player of great female Shakespearean roles" (Mary Edmond, Rare Sir William Davenant [Manchester U. Press, 1987], 167). See also Biographical Dictionary, 2:96-99.

(36) Milhous and Hume, "Manuscript Casts," 33; The Cardinal, ed. E. M. Yearling (Manchester U. Press, 1986), 27-28.

(37) Pepys, Diary, 8:399. Pepys reported on 24 August 1667 that he particularly enjoyed Rebecca Marshall's performance in The Cardinal.

(38) Pepys, Diary, 3:211-12, 8:399, and 9:177.

(39) For a discussion of the difficulties of inferring performance from publication data, see Milhous and Hume, "Dating Play Premieres from Publication Data, 1660. 1700, Harvard Library Bulletin, 22 (1974): 374-405.

(40) Since the title page is badly cropped in myphotocopy, I have relied on Bepler for the full transcription of the annotation (FA, 211).

(41) Pepys, Diary, 2:190-91; Downes, 25. At a performance of Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit Without Money on 22 April 1663 at the Vere Street Theatre Pepys observed that "... I do not much like [it], but coming late put me out of tune" (Diary, 4:108). At a production of Davenant's The Unfortunate Lovers on 7 March 1664 he admits that fie "was not much pleased with it; though I know not where to lay the fault--unless it was that the house was very empty ..." (Diary, 5:77).

(42) Pepys, Diary, 9:164, 193.

(43) Downes, 15-16; Hume, "The Maid's Tragedy and Censorship in the Restoration Theatre," PQ 61 (1982): 484-90.

(44) Maguire, "Origins and Development of Serious Drama in the 1660's" (Ph.D. diss., Northern Illinois University, 1983), 56-57.

(45) Pepys, Diary, 7:399.

(46) Downes, 41.

(47) Hume, "The Maid's Tragedy," 488. To alter the original tragedy to a politically correct tragicomedy, Waller revised Act 5 in rhymed couplets so that the original killing of the King, a lustful tyrant, became a reconciliation between a contrite King and the revenger Melantius.

(48) John Dryden, The Rival Ladies (London: W. W. for Henry Heringman [sic], 1664).

(49) Rosenfeld, 130.

(50) Robson-Scott, 98.

(51) John Tatham, The Rump; or the Mirrour of the Late Times (London: Bloome, 1661); Hume, The Development of English Drama in the Late Seventeenth Century, 239. Ferdinand Albrecht had attended Tatham's Lord Mayor's Day pageant on 29 October 1664, entitled London's Triumphs, in honor of the current mayor Sir John Lawrence. In his volume of Restoration newspapers is a "copy of Tatham s description of the order of events for this day and the various verses addressed to the Royal family, the Mayor and the spectators" (CT, 225).

(52) Dr. Edward Browne's Playlists for productions occuring between 1661 and 1663 include a production of The Rump at the Cardinal's Cap in Cambridge. See Hume, "Dr. Edward Browne's Playlists of `1662': A Reconsideration," PQ64 (1985): 69-81.

(53) The Unfortunate Usurper (London: n.p., 1663). The two other Andronicus plays are Thomas Fuller's Andronicus: A Tragedy, Impieties Long Successe, or Heavens Late Revenge (London: Richard Hall, 1661) and John Wilson's Andronicus Comnenzus (London: John Starkey, 1664). For a discussion of these Andronicus plays, see Dale Randall, Winter Fruit: English Drama 1642-1660 (U. of Kentucky Press, 1995), 121-27; Maguire, Regicide and Restoration, 75-78; and Eric Rothstein, Restoration Tragedy (U. of Wisconsin Press, 1967), 68-71.

(54) John Wilson, The Projectors (London:John Playfere and William Crook, 1665).

(55) I checked Rosenfeld's list of plays advertised in The Intelligencer and The Newes (""Dramatic Advertisements," 123-52), against the Burney collection on microfilm in "Early English Newspapers" (Woodbridge, Connecticut: Research Publications International). Of the playtexts that he purchased during the period of his London visit, only The Rival Ladies and The Comical Revenge were advertised in The Newes. Thomas Killigrew's Comedyes and Tragedyes was advertised on 28 January 1663/4 and 12 May 1664 and The Projectors and The White Devil not until 27 April 1665. Other plays advertised a few months before his arrival were Wilson's The Cheats on 26 November 1663 and Andronicus Comnenius on 11 February 1663/ 4; Stapylton's The Stepmother on 28January 1663/4; Waller's collaborative Pompey on 3 March 1663/4; and Carlell's Heraclius on 9 May 1664.

(56) Pepys, Diary, 6:73. I am grateful to Jill Bepler, Philip Highfill, Robert Hume, Ann Kelly, Deborah Payne-Fisk, and Alinda Sumers for their valuable insights and editorial comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

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