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SHAKSPEARE LOTTERY
[Prospectus]
Plan of the Shakspeare lottery, to be drawn pursuant to an Act of Parliament, passed in the 44th year of His Majesty's reign, intituled, "An Act to enable John Boydell, Esq. one of the Aldermen of the City of London, and Josiah Boydell, his nephew and partner, to dispose of their collection ... together with the leasehold premises in Pall Mall, called the Shakspeare Gallery, by way of chance." ...
[London]: printed by W. Bulmer and Co., 1804.
8 p. ; 21.7 cm. (4°)

Drop-head title. Imprint from colophon. Dated 'London, April 5, 1804'. Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery, built by George Dance the younger to a design incorporating his original "Ammonite order", opened in May 1789 with 34 pictures by leading painters, growing to 162 by 1802. By late 1803 however, John and Josiah Boydell were in financial difficulties as a result of problems with the variable quality of the engravings for Boydell's edition of The dramatic works of Shakspeare, 1802 (q.v.) and the effect of the French wars on trade generally, and applied to Parliament for leave to conduct a lottery to raise money by disposing of the Gallery and its contents. Twenty-two thousand tickets were to be sold at 3 guineas each, with 62 prizes, the last of which was to include 'The whole of the large Pictures, from Shakspeare, now exhibiting, ... the Whole of the small Pictures, from which the Plates have been engraved, ...' as well as the leasehold of the Pall Mall premises. The catalogue of the Shakespeare pictures and the alphabetical catalogue were available for inspection and purchase at the Gallery. Soane was one of three trustees in whom the collection, estate and premises were vested (the other two being William Morland and David Davies), and holders of the 21,938 undrawn tickets were to be given prints to the value of 1 guinea selected by the trustees, and a numerical list made out under the direction of the trustees 'so that such new list may correspond, in numerical order, with the numbers affixed to the Prints selected for the Undrawn Tickets' (q.v.); however, Alderman Boydell died before the lottery could be drawn. A letter from James Peacock dated 15 February 1805 in the Soane archive refers to 'Boydell's great prize' having been gained by Mr. Tassie, perhaps the son of the modeller James Tassie (1735--1799); the pictures were later sold at Christie's, 17--20 May 1805 (q.v.). The building was leased by the newly founded British Institution in 1805. See A.T. Bolton (ed.), The portrait of Sir John Soane, R.A. (London 1927), p. 98 (trascribing Peacock's letter); J. Lever, Catalogue of the drawings of George Dance the Younger (1741--1825) and of George Dance the Elder (1695--1768) from the collection of Sir John Soane's Museum (London 2003), pp. 154--156; Robin Hamlyn, 'The Shakespeare Galleries of John Boydell and James Woodmason' in: Jane Martineau et al., Shakespeare in Art (London: Merrell, 2003), pp. 97--101.

Copy Notes Unopened. Attached to a copy of the numerical list for the holders of undrawn tickets (q.v.).

Binding Folded paper.

Reference Number 6007


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