THE PLAYHOUSE FRAME
ALL contemporary views of London misrepresent the proportions of the Globe. Visscher exhibits a building approximately as high (to the ridge of the gallery roofs) as it is wide. Other cartographers even more seriously exaggerate the height, notably Delaram, whose Globe dwarfs all near-by buildings and is overlooked only by the tower of St. Saviour's. Needless to say such exaggeration is the result of pictorial emphasis.
But by means of the extant builder's contracts for two other playhouses erected early in the seventeenth century it is possible to discover the dimensions of the Globe frame with some degree of accuracy and completeness. A knowledge of these dimensions is necessary before we can intelligently weigh the mass of evidence bearing on the minor details of the building -- the stairs, doors, partitions, seats, and so forth, and the many complex features of the stage and tiring-house -- evidence which for the most part is found not in the contracts themselves but in other sources of information, notably in the plays written for the Globe Company or for other companies possessing playhouses closely resembling the Globe. The two extant builder's contracts, for reasons soon to be taken up, give little more than directions for constructing the frame of the Fortune or the Hope (as the case may be) on the lines of some other playhouse, and for including or altering certain standard appointments; but I believe that by a close study of the two contracts we can discover the exact size of the Globe and obtain a reasonably complete knowledge of how its component parts were designed. With these facts as a