• The Prince of Wales laying the Foundation Stone of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden on 31st December 1808 -
    Price on request

    Signed lower right: W. Daniell delt

    Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour and scratching out

    355 x 623 mm., 14 x 24 ¾ in.


    At 4 a.m. on the morning of 21st September 1808, fire broke out at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, now known as the Royal Opera House. Within three hours, the whole theatre was destroyed but the books, accounts, deeds and cash were saved due to the intervention of the treasurer Mr Hughes.  The present drawing shows the Prince of Wales (the future George IV) ceremonially laying the first Portland stone which was said to weigh one ton. Once workmen lowered it into place, His Majesty gave it three strokes with a mallet. The Prince of Wales was accompanied by the architect of the new building Sir Robert Smirke who showed him the proposed, Greek revival, plan of the theatre. Following the ceremony all the dignitaries, including the Prince who was still wearing his Freemason regalia, went to the Freemasons Tavern for a meal. On 18th September 1809, the new Theatre Royal reopened with a performance of Macbeth starring Sarah Siddons. The theatre only lasted until 1856 when it again burned down and the present building was opened in 1858.


    This drawing depicts the site of the Royal Opera House from Floral Street to the north. To the left is Bow Street where the sign of the Garricks Head Tavern is visible. It had opened in 1805 at no. 27 to serve the theatre’s audience. The large building behind Bow Street is the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane which had been rebuilt by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1794 and was to burn down in 1809. Behind Drury Lane, the spire of the church of St Mary-le-Strand is visible.


    From 1802 to 1813, Daniell was working on a series of London views and it could be that he intended producing an engraving of this subject. It never happened however but he did publish an engraving of the east front of the new theatre on 1st September 1809. 

  • Deer in the Great Park, Windsor Castle beyond -

    Watercolour over traces of pencil heightened with bodycolour and stopping out

    550 x 676 mm., 21 ½ x 26 ½ in.



    Lady Troutbeck

    Bought from Peter Bennett Fine Paintings, May 2001

    Private Collection, UK

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