Terry-Lynn Johnson scanned the images and text from the 1842 The Illustrated London News.

The list by the pseudonymous punster "Crowquill" is not alphabetical, but rather in order of the importance of the theatres, the Patent Houses of Drury Lane and Covent Garden appearing first. Click on thumbnails at right for larger images — Philip V. Allingham

Drury Lane Theatre

Harlequin Tell, or The Genius of the Ribston Pippin. In reviewing it, The Times dubbed it a "burlesque." (pp. 102-3).

Behold! the pantomime of Tell
I'll tell you how he did so well;
An arrowish escape he had,
To die himself or kill his lad.
But rather chose with fate to grapple,
And aim at freedom through an apple.
By Ribston pippins made aspirant;
Soon after that he shot his tyrant!

Covent Garden

Punch's Pantomime.

Punch, what have you bowled out to-day?
You've oft shown fight, you now show play;r> Your theme's no carter, meaning wagg'ner,
But the great charter we call magna.
Bill by the barons drawn upon,
And then accepted by King John,
Endorsed by England to the free,
And made by Punch a jeu d'esprit!

Haymarket Theatre

Riquet with the Tuft. Written by James Robinson Planche in 1836, it originally starred Madame Vestris as Princess Esmeralda, Charles Matthews (as Prince Riquet) and Mrs. Anderson (as Prince Finikin) as the suitors. The closing scene, in Queen Mab's palace in Fairyland, features Jack the Giant killer, etc. (Frow, pp. 97-98). Master of Extravaganza.

So ho! So ho! (not Soho-square)
What, good Sir Riquet, are you there?
Tuft-honour'd mortal, with the nous
To make tuft-hunters of the house!
Riquet, your form is strong to view,
There's nothing ricketty in you,
Although you stand, you man of fun,
As if you meant to have a run!

Theatre Royal, Adelphi

Harlequin Nobody, or the Babes in the Wood. Probably based on Drury Lane's Harlequin and Robin Cooke; or the Babes in the Wood (1827), in turn based on the Haymarket's October 1793 musical adaption of the old ballad (1595), which appeared in Thomas Percy's Reliques (1765).

Harlequin Nobody! what shall we say
At the notion of Nobody having his way,
And, on being complained of by some queer so-so-body,
Replying, with triumph, "That's nothing to nobody!"
Again, when he lit on the "Babes in the Wood,"
Where Nobody saw them, 'cause Nobody could,
And plaintively hoped in our bosom we'd put 'em,--
As Nobody 'd thank us, we didn't--we cut 'em!


Harlequin and old Cocker

Here's the Rule of Three, upon Boxing-day,
According to Cocker, come to the play.
Practice makes perfect every tick,
And the tick of time is arithme-tic.
No Divisionthe house provokes,
There's a Multiplication of capital jokes;
And the world may laugh at the merry transactions,
Till it shakes its ribs into Vulgar Fractions.

Sadler's Wells

Harlequin King Arthur

King Arthur, so, ho! then we have you upon
The harlequin trick of burlesquing "King John!"
As if your good Majesty thought it no sin
To combine the droll acting of Harley and Quin!

Another popular monarch in the pantomime was King Alfred the Great. For example, the acrobat Blondin's feat of crossing Niagara Falls on a tight rope in 1859 was parodied in a subsequent pantomime adaptation of the story of King Alfred the Great (Frow, 13).


Harlequin Puck, or the Crystal Fountain

Oh! for the frolics of Harlequin Puck,
Who was born in a lily-bell all to good luck,
Who bathed in crystal to get himself clean,
And then went to gambol with pea and with bean; And who, Shakspere [sic] says, was happy indeed
When the Pantomime people all muster'd he seed,
In the great Surrey garden of frolic, you know,
Where, highly delighted, he makes them to grow.

City [of London Theatre]

Harlequin The One-Eyed Blacksmith. This theatre opened on 27 March 1837, under management of Nelson Lee, playwright and producer of pantomime from 1848-66.

Ha! one-ogled blacksmith, what are you about?
Your sight's "all my eye" I have not the least doubt.
But, if you've a spark left of principle too,
You will not keep forging the way that you do!

Related Materials


Crowquill, Alfred. "The Christmas Pantomimes." The Illustrated London News. 31 December 1842. Pp. 536-37.

Frow, Gerald. "Oh, Yes It Is!" A History of Pantomime. London: BBC, 1985.

Last modified 25 January 2007