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HomeSearchGetRecordCovent Garden Theatrical Fund (1825-44)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Covent Garden Theatrical Fund (1825-44)
Unique Identifier
A collection of handbills and other material relating to the annual dinners of the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund, 1825–44 (missing 1826 and 1827), with MS letters and programmes of the material performed by Sir George Smart, arranged chronologically as a bound volume.

The Fund with first instituted on 23 December 1765, and confirmed by Act of Parliament, for the purpose of supporting indigent and infirm actors and actresses, and relieving their widows and children. The events documented in this collection took place on 4 March 1825, 14 March 1828, 10 April 1829, [no date] 1830, 23 March 1831, 28 March 1832, 27 March 1833, 7 March 1834, 8 April 1835, 4 March 1836, 13 March 1837, 28 March 1838, 20 March 1839, 18 March 1840, 29 April 1841, 16 March 1842, 5 April 1843, 11 March 1844.

Documentation for all years consists of a printed bill for the event (listing the President, Vice-Presidents, Trustees and Stewards of the Fund), a handwritten list of the music to accompany the toasts, and a handwritten list of the performers involved (typically divided into two: 'For solos' and 'For glees').

From 1831, the printed bills begin to list some of the musical performers. Although instrumentalists are listed in the bill for the 1838 dinner (Madame Dulcken, piano and Mademoiselle Milanollo, violin), these performances were predominantly vocal and accompanied on the keyboard. The scale of the musical performance would appear to have grown considerable in the latter seasons documented in this volume.

The collection includes a considerable amount of handwritten correspondence between Sir George Smart and the committee of the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund. This typically consists of an exchange of letters before the performance in which Smart promises his assistance and a letter of thanks to Smart after the concert.

Documentation relating to the seasons 1835-37, 1840 and 1841 includes transcriptions of a speech made at the dinner, by Mr Bartley (1835-37 and 1840)/Mr Meadows (1841). That for 1831 includes the handwritten words for a song written by James Thompson specifically to be sung at the dinner.

Much of this material bears handwritten annotations by Smart. These refer to the timings of the events, the distribution of tickets, and the provision of the piano by Messrs Broadwood.

The volume has its own index, created by Smart, which lists the date of the dinner and the names of the Fund chairman, treasurer and secretary for that year.
Date range of collection
1825 - 1844
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
Associated People or Organisations
Associated Places
This collection is about

Location Details

British Library, Music Collections
96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
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020 7412 7772
020 7412 7751
Visiting Information
Reprographic services
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Collections Overview
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

Additional Collection Information

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Management Information (Type)
Collection Owner(s)
Collection Creator(s)
Collection Collector(s)
Collection Custodians(s)
Associated Collection(s)
Cardif University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)Royal College of Music LondonMuseums, Libraries and Archives Council