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London Tennis Court cum Theatre
Site of Premiere of Congreve's "Love for Love"

WILKINSON, R. Remains of Gibbon's Tennis Court, as it appeared after the Fire, 17. September, 1809. Used in 1660, as the first Theatre of the Kings Company of Comedians, until the Erection of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. London, R. Wilkinson, 1811.

[30 x 26 cm], Paper lightly soiled; waterstain in upper right corner.


Rare broadside documenting the history of one of London's first tennis courts; converted into a theatre in 1660, this was the site of William Congreve's "Love for Love" premiere (1695).

The broadside by the prominent engraver Robert Wilkinson in 1811, shows the aftermath of the fire that demolished Gibbon's Tennis Courts on September 17, 1809. Children play in the looming ruins, and a curious passerby peers through the boarded-up wall. Wilkinson includes a blueprint of the theatre's original floorplan.

* Not in Malcolm Whitman, Tennis Origins and Mysteries (1932/68).

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