A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800,
To be completed in 12 volumes, this monumental work here begins publication with the first two volumes—Abaco to Bertie and Bertin to Byzard. When completed, it is expected that the biographical dictionary will include information on more than 8,500 individuals.
Hundreds of printed sources have been searched for this project, and dozens of repositories combed, and the names of personnel listed have been filtered through parish registers whenever possible. From published and unpublished sources, from wills, archives of professional societies and guilds, from records of colleges, universities, and clubs, and from the contributions of selfless scholars, the authors have here assembled material which illuminates theatrical and musical activity in London in the 1660–1800 period.
The information here amassed will doubtless be augmented by other specialists in Restoration and eighteenth-century theatre and drama, but it is not likely that the number of persons now known surely or conjectured finally to have been connected with theatrical enterprise in this period will ever be increased considerably. Certainly, the contributions made here add immeasurably to existing knowledge, and in a number of instances correct standard histories or reference works.
The accompanying illustrations, estimated to be some 1,400 likenesses—at least one picture of each subject for whom a portrait exists—may prove to be a useful feature of the Work. The authors have gone beyond embellishment of the text, and have attempted to list all original portraits any knowledge of which is now recoverable, and have tried to ascertain the present location of portraits in every medium.