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A Theater Royal Drury Lane advertising poster for 'De La Perouse or, the Desolate Island'

Date: 1825
Mount / Matt size: 550 × 384 mm
Sheet: 335 × 190 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Theatre Poster
Object No: 00004039
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A theater poster from the Theater Royal, Drury Lane advertising productions apppearing on Monday 28 November, 1825. These include 'Brutus', 'Ambroso King of Little Britain' and the grand historic pantomime-drama in two parts called 'De La Perouse or, the Desolate Island'.
    SignificanceThis poster attests the appeal and widespread sense of mystery about the fate of the La Perouse expedition; speculation about it also provided dramatic material for the theater.

    HistoryThe ships LA BOUSSOLE and L'ASTROLABE, belonging to the La Perouse expedition, were last documented off South Head in March 1788. Their disappearance became one of the great mysteries of the sea and was only partially solved in 1827 by the discovery of wreckage on the fringing reef around Vanikoro. Oral accounts recorded at the time suggest that an escape vessel of some description was built by survivors of the wrecks using salvaged material. However, the fate of the survivors who set off in this escape vessel is still unknown.
    The tale of La Perouse became fertile dramatic material for those days, at once exotic and mysterious. He sailed into Botany Bay a mere six days after Captain Phillip's First Fleet,stayed some weeks and sailed out again to disappear without trace in the South Pacific.
    'De' La Perouse, or the Desolate Island' appeared at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1825. A few months later in 1826 it was playing at the New Surrey Theatre. Billed as a Pantomime Ballet of Action, it presented 'Marine and Rocky Panoramas, Savage Landscapes, Interior and Exterior of Perouse's Hut, Snow Views, Frozen Lakes and Mountain Passes and introduced us to Monsieur Gouffe playing the Chimpanzee who, it was stated on the bill, would ' Round the front of the Gallery sustained only by the Thread-like Mouldings'."

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