Kean as Richard III, directed to the left, stands on a large volume with the word ‘Shakespear’ written on the top edge. Resting on his head and humped shoulders is a model of Drury Lane Theatre, a massive block, inscribed ‘Whitbreads Intire.’ On the roof is poised an ugly figure of Fame, blowing through a trumpet ‘Puff Puff Puff’, and holding behind her a second trumpet, from which issue the words ‘Puff Puff P’. In front straddles a tiny Whitbread, his legs and arms projecting from a cask which forms his body; he says: “Now by St Paul the work goes bravely on” (altering Richard’s words from ‘this news is bad indeed’). Kean stoops, leaning on a cross-hilted sword, inscribed ‘A Keen supporter’; he has misshapen bandy legs. He says: “Well, as you guess.” He wears an ermine-bordered cap encircled by a crown, slashed doublet and trunk hose, a sleeveless coat bordered with ermine and embroidered with a (Yorkist) rose, with flapped and spurred boots. (The figure, with the position of the arms altered, is a travesty of J.J. Hall’s portrait of Kean interrogating Stanley on the approach of Richmond. The costume is correct.) The stage is indicated by curtains flanking the design. In the background are clouds of smoke.–Adapted from British Museum.
- Printmaker: Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878, printmaker.
- Title: The theatrical atlas / G. Cruikshank fec.
- Published: [London] : Pubd. by H. Humphrey, St. James’s Street, May 7th, 1814.
Acquired June 2017