The Garrick Club. Architect: Marrable. 9-21 Garrick Street, London W2. 1864. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Photograph and research by Robert Freidus. Formatting by George P. Landow [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Joseph Hatton's Club-Land (1890) on the Garrick Club

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View from the Library, Garrick Club

The Garrick is indeed a picture gallery in itself. Every room is crowded with paintings and other Art treasures. There are examples of the best works of the favourite theatrical artists, Zoffany, Harlowe, Hayman, Wilson, Dance, De Wilde, Clint, and Cotes; a dozen portraits of Garrick and eleven of John Kemble; several Hogarths, including, to quote Elia, the "'Woffington on a Couch,' a true Hogarth — dallying and dangerous; "'Rich and his Family,' by Hogarth; Harlowe's 'Mrs. Siddons as Lady Macbeth;' Lawrence's ' Kemble as Cato;' Hayman's 'Garrick and Mrs. Pritchard in The suspicious Husband; De Wilde's 'Banister and Parsons in The Village Lawyer;' Reynolds's 'Portrait of Samuel Foote;' Vandergucht's 'Portrait of Woodward;' Grisoni's ' Portrait of Colley Gibber as Lord Foppington;' Zoffany's 'Garrick and Mrs. Prit chard in the Murder Scene of Macbeth; ' ' Young Roscius,' by Opie; 'John Liston,' by Clint; and many others which would occupy too much space for particularisation. Mr. Percy Fitzgerald has criticised and described the best of them in his entertaining volume, "The World Behind the Scenes." One of the many gems of the collection is 'The Clandestine Marriage ' of Zoffany, depicting King as Lord Ogleby, and Mrs. Baddeley as Miss Stirling, and Mr. Baddeley as the French valet. The situation is that most pleasant equivoque in the third act, where the old lord is led on to make a declaration by the replies of the lady, who fancies that he is urging her lover's suit and not her own. A delightful reminiscence of a beautiful woman is the portrait of Miss Farren, Countess of Derby; and not to he forgotten as an illustration of the costumier's and the stage-manager's art of Garrick's days is the 'Macbeth' picture, in which the royal thane is represented wearing scarlet breeches, gold-laced coat, enormous waistcoat, silk socks, and bobwig. The technique of the artist finds ample opportunities for display in the decorated waistcoat, etc., and the hands are painted with wonderful skill. As a piece of strong realistic truthful portrait-painting, the work is beyond praise; it is Garrick's fault that as a Shakesperian scene the picture is ridiculous. There is other interesting pictorial evidence on the club walls of the way in which plays were dressed and staged in Garrick's time. No other gallery of pictures extant tells so completely the personal story of the English stage. Recently there have been added to the collection one hundred and sixteen water-colour sketches, representing Charles Mathews in as many different characters. They are arranged en masse in an excellent light upon the wall of the passage leading to the strangers' rooms, where are now to be found busts of Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft as well as Millais' portrait of Henry Irving. Among the latest additions to the Art treasures are Clint's superb picture of a scene from A New Way to Pay Old Debts, with Edmund Kean as Sir Giles Overreach, presented to the club by Mr. Irving, and a fine portrait of David Garrick by Sir Joshua Reynolds, presented by the Earl of Fife from the Duff House Collection.

The Garrick Club first began housekeeping in King Street, close by its present quarters in Garrick Street. It is unpretentiously housed in a building designed by Mr. Marrable. The style is Italian. The hall is im pressive chiefly on account of its noble staircase of carved oak, the walls decorated with notable paintings. At the top of the staircase there is a landing-place from which the reading-room, library, and card-rooms are entered. The artistic efi"ect of the open doorway of the principal room, seen from the landing, which is in shadow, is very striking. Whichever way you look, from room or staircase, the scene is prettily broken up with light and shade, and you catch glimpses of statuettes, pictures, relics of the theatre, while the prevailing tone of the surrounding decorations is well calculated to help the general effect. The dining-room, smoking-room, and visitors' apart ments are on the ground floor, and so embarrassing are the pictorial riches of the place that I had quite overlooked the treasures of the smoking-room, a superb Roberts, the finest Stansfield I have ever seen, and two by Louis Haghe that are unequalled. [41-43]

Bibliography

Bradley, Simon, and Nikolaus Pevsner. London 6: Westminster. “The Buildings of England.” New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003. p. 348.

Hatton, Joseph. Clubland London and Provincial. London: J. S. Vertie, 1890. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Toronto Library. Web. 29 February 2012.


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Last modified 29 February 2012