Autograph letters signed from William Bodham Donne, London and nearby, to Frances Anne Kemble [manuscript], 1856-1876.

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Donne, William Bodham, 1807-1882,. Autograph letters signed from William Bodham Donne, London and nearby, to Frances Anne Kemble [manuscript], 1856-1876.

Autograph letters signed from William Bodham Donne, London and nearby, to Frances Anne Kemble [manuscript], 1856-1876.

45 autograph letters signed, 2 autograph letters incomplete and 1 autograph letter probably incomplete. As librarian of the London Library (1852-1857), and later as examiner of plays and inspector of theatres (1857-1874), Donne was in touch with many of the well-known politicians, writers and artists of his day and often mentions them in his letters. Among others he refers to are Mr. and Mrs. Browning, J.P. Collier (p. 301), Edward Fitzgerald, J.A. Froude, Henry Greville, J.P. Harley, Mrs. Jameson, Charles Kingsley, Walter Landor, Monckton Milnes, Charles Reade, Crabb Robinson, James Spedding, Tom Taylor, Tennyson, Thackeray, Anne Thackeray and R.C. Trench. He comments on certain plays and actors, e.g. Ristori (p. 239, 265a), Fechter (p. 317, 325), Irving (p. 345), Richard III on horseback at Astley's (p. 241), [Dion Boucicault's] Colleen Bawn (p. 309) and Charles and Ellen Kean's productions at the Princess Theatre which he characterizes as beautifully adorned, but "unbeautifully" acted (p. 249, 267). Occasionally he refers to his duties as inspector (e.g. p. 283, 317); he praises the beauty of the new Covent Garden Theatre, 1858 (p. 265a). He was also director of the plays given at Court and gives many details of his tasks at Windsor; the more absurd a play the better [the Royal family] seem to like it (p. 311). Donne knew the Kemble family well and relays news of Adelaide Sartoris [i.e. Kemble], her nephew, Henry (an officer like his own son, Frederic, in the Indian army), her nephew, Harry (an actor), Gertrude and Charles Santley and her niece, Mildred, who married his son, Charles. Donne owned an estate in Mattishall, Norf. and discusses estate matters in several letters. In (p. 251) he quotes from a letter from Mrs. Sartoris.

48 items.

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