London: John C. Nimmo, 1888. Item #02882
DORAN, [John]. “Their Majesties’ Servants.” Annals of the English Stage from Thomas Betterton to Edmund Kean. By Dr. Doran, F.S.A. Edited and revised by Robert W. Lowe. With fifty copperplate portraits and eighty wood engravings. In three volumes. London: John C. Nimmo, 1888.
Limited to 300 numbered copies (this being #222) printed on fine deckle-edge Royal 8vo paper. Three large octavo volumes (9 7/8 x 6 5/16 inches; 251 x 161 mm.). Engraved frontispieces and plates and wood-engraved text illustrations, including fifty portraits in duplicate, one on Japanese and the other on plate paper, as India proofs. Descriptive tissue guards. Wood-engraved tail-piece vignettes.
Bound ca. 1970 by [Sangorski & Sutcliffe] for Asprey in three-quarter green crushed levant morocco over green cloth boards, ruled in gilt. Spines decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. A fine set.
"Readers are indebted to Dr. DORAN in these pleasant volumes, for the first history of the English acted Drama, fitted for ordinary perusal by its moderate length and the amusing nature of its contents. It is sure to become a popular book, as long as the great names of the golden age of the Theatre retain their attraction… The actors -- those "diverting vagabonds" -- (as Dr. JOHNSON somewhere called them,) stand indeed a better chance to be remembered than most of their graver cotemporaries. There are many among them whose talents might adorn, and their virtues reflect credit on any sphere of action. GARRICK. KEMBLE, SIDDONS, CHARLES KEAN, BETTERTON, and others, are names that would ennoble any profession, and if many of equal ability with those mentioned failed to rival their virtues, the very delinquencies that their names recall, but add to the never failing interest with which we read of PEG WOFFINGTON, KITTY CLIVE, SAMUEL FOOTE, EDMUND KEAN, COLLEY CIBBER, and a whole host of names classic on the boards of Old Drury. Under ???riple heading of "Actors, Authors and Audiences," Dr. DORAN leaves no corner of theatrical history unvisited that could add to the completeness of his picture of the drama in England. This is traced from its origin, when the players were merely an appendage to regal state, acting by virtue of a royal patent, under the regulation and supervision of an officer of the King's household, the Lord Chamberlain, to the year 1843, when "their Majesties servants" became a formality only, and free trade in the drama was established. Dr. DORAN'S style is objectionable as being too obtrusively vivacious; he is nothing if not piquant, and can scarcely repeat the witticism of another without barbina the arrow and sharpening the point." (New York Times, November 9th, 1864).
English Theatrical Literature, 857.