(BYRON, George Noel Gordon, Baron) (ELLISTON, Robert William) As the legal question in respect to the Performance of Lord Byron's Tragedy is still to be discussed, ... Folio. J. Tabby, Printer, Theatre-Royal, Drury Lane. 1821
A single sheet printed on cheap greenish paper; sl. chipped & creased at edges, with traces of one old fold. A good copy.
¶Elliston's unsigned self-justification is described by Christopher Murray in his biography as "one of his famous handbills". It is headed 'Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Monday, April 30, 1821' and was unknown to Arnott & Robinson, in whose bibliography it is related to items 3847 and 3848. Elliston, the manager of Drury Lane, obtained a printed copy of Byron's play, having failed to get permission from Byron himself or John Murray to stage the work. With nominal permission from George Lambe on the Drury Lane Committee, Elliston submitted a heavily censored text to the Lord Chamberlain for licensing: 'we have so curtailed [it] that I believe not a single objectionable line exists'. (This text is now in the Huntington Library.) The play was staged on 25th April 1821 with a nondescript and under-rehearsed cast of John Cooper as Marino, Wallack as Bertuccio, and Mrs West as Angiolina. Elliston in this bill states that 'No impression could have been more forcible: no applause more genuine, or perfect' but contemporary reviews were unfavourable and hostile, the public disapproving and the receipts less than might have been expected. After the first performance John Murray obtained an injunction in Chancery prohibiting further performances before April 30th, but Elliston's position was legally correct, and he issued this piece of effrontery, poorly printed at the Theatre's own press, before the five further performances, taking full advantage of Byron's exile. CBEL 3 - attributes to Byron a 'Letter to R.W. Elliston on the injustice and illegality of his conduct in presenting Lord Byron's tragedy Marino Faliero' (1821).