BURNEY, Charles (1726-1814) Autograph letter signed ('CB') t...
Estimate: £900 - £1,200
ca. US$1,830 - US$2,440
Price realised: £1,680
BURNEY, Charles (1726-1814). Autograph letter signed ('CB.') to his son Charles,"Wedy night au lit" [16 April 1806], 3 pages, 4to, integral address with postmarks, wafer seal, seal tear.
BURNEY, Charles (1726-1814). Autograph letter signed ('CB.') to his son Charles,"Wedy night au lit" [16 April 1806], 3 pages, 4to, integral address with postmarks, wafer seal, seal tear. Burney thanks his son for the 'dramatic dates' he had provided [for Burney's Memoirs ] and remarks that although the Biographia Dramatica was normally reliable, Mrs Cibber is stated to have died on 30 January 1766, ('Your being carried by the dear soul in her chair to the Theatre on her last benefit night, I had totally forgotten'). He contests Erskine Baker's opinion that Mrs Cibber could not play comedy, although admitting that '[she] never had justice done her in parts of high bred Comedy, any more than Garrick as a Poet'. He asks his son if he can 'ferret out' of his collection of old newspapers any reference to the riots at Drury Lane ('I think it was in 1746 or 47, when I was with Arne on 2d thoughts, it may perhaps have been about the year 1749 or 1750'). He reminisces about personalities and incidents on the stage including Chitty the timber merchant, 'who kept Miss Norris, the singer... and used to harangue the Malcontents, standing on a bench in the Pit', and the unfortunate Miss Norris herself, who went bathing in the Thames one hot evening with 'Arne's piece' at what they thought was 'a very private place' only to have their clothes stolen by some boys ('This event must have happened after I left Arne, & he had left his wife that he dared commit whoredom so publickly.') Charles Burney was at the centre of the most fashionable society of the late eighteenth century and acquainted with all the leading literary, theatrical and musical personalities of the time. He began his Memoirs in 1782 but put them aside to concentrate on A General History of Music which was published between 1776 and 1789. In 1805 he returned to the draft memoirs addressing numerous queries to his son Charles regarding dates and details of events in the London theatre. He was helped by the fact that his son had made a large collection of newspaper cuttings relating to Garrick and others. Charles Burney (1757-1817), the son, was famous in his day as a classical scholar. After his death the British Museum acquired his library of over 13,000 volumes which included the largest extant collection of early English newspapers.
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