[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.Hough:hou02400View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement

On July 16, 2018, OASIS will retire. It will be replaced by HOLLIS for Archival Discovery. Please explore.
MS Thr 942

Theatrical penny plain and twopence coloured additional portraits, 1810-1848: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Thr 942
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Theatrical penny plain and twopence coloured additional portraits,
Date(s): 1810-1848.
Quantity: 1 collection (7 boxes (3 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Hand-colored and uncolored "penny plain" and "twopence coloured" theatrical portrait character prints.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Various donors, various dates. See items for accession information, if known.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Theatrical Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured Additional Portraits, 1810-1848 (MS Thr 942). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

See also: Theatrical Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured Portraits, 1812-1848 (MS Thr 933).

Biographical / Historical

Prints known as "penny plains" and "twopence coloureds" were collected and often used in toy theaters during the first half of the 19th-century. The names of the prints originated from the prices each cost to purchase in English coin. The images are portraits of actors depicted as principal characters with scenery of the then current plays. These characters could be cut-out, mounted on pasteboard, attached to sticks and used as performers in toy theatres. Often performing scripts written especially for children to be used with these materials. The Twopence coloureds were purchased already coloured-in by the publisher. Toy theatres were especially popular as English children's toys in the first half of the 19th-century, but by the late 19th-century popularity waned and publishing of these materials declined.


Organized into the following series:

Scope and Contents

This collection contains hand-colored and uncolored theatrical portrait engravings depicting portrait images of actors. Some are black and white and some are hand-colored, almost all were printed in London. Publishing firms include: William West, A. Park, Jameson, Skelt, J. Fairburn, Hodgson & Co., and many others. Actors depicted include T. P. Cooke, Andrew Ducrow, Edward Gomersal, Charles Kean, Edmund Kean, among others.

Container List