'IOLANTHE' WITH A CLOSE-UP OF GILBERT'S METHODS AS A WRITER AND PRODUCER
Gilbert came this evening and sketched out an idea for a new piece--Lord Chancellor, Peers, Fairies, etc. Funny, but at present vague.
-- SULLIVAN'S DIARY, nine days after première of Patience
GILBERT AND SULLIVAN were now rich. Each enjoyed an income of over £10,000 a year, or twice as much as the Prime Minister, Mr Gladstone. Sullivan spent freely on entertaining, race-horses, the casino, travel. Gilbert instructed an architect to design a large mansion to be built in Harrington Gardens, Kensington, equipped with such amenities (unusual in 1882) as central heating and four bathrooms. He was already trying out that remarkable innovation, the telephone, at 24, The Boltons.
Gilbert to Sullivan, 16 February, 1882:
My telephone is fixed and in working order--it costs £20 per ann. They are fixing one at the theatre, and it will be finished this week. Shall I order one for you? It takes some time, four or five weeks, to finish. I have ordered an instrument to be fixed at the prompt entrance so that I shall be able to hear the performance from my study--so will you, from your house, if you decide to have one I am hard at work on Act 2 but have infinite difficulty with it.
These birth-pangs were in due course to provide the world with that delectable fairy-opera Iolanthe; but when the letter reached Sullivan he was in Egypt--the second foreign tour within a few months. Soon after the production of Patience, in 1881, Arthur Sullivan and Fred Clay had sailed in H.M.S. Hercules, as guests of the Duke of Edinburgh1 on a voyage into the Baltic. At Copenhagen they were banqueted by the King of Denmark; in Russia the Tsar entertained them in opulent style, and Sullivan____________________