CollectionMelville Theatre Collection
TitleAssociates of the Melville family
Name of creatorLee, Nelson, 1807-1872, actor, writer and adaptor of plays especially pantomimes
Dowton, William, Mr., 1764-1851, actor, comedian
DescriptionNotes, theatrical programmes and drawings, pantomime and notes, biographical, paintings, contracts, letters, playbills

The Melvilles were involved with the theatre for over 100 years and in that time were associated with other theatrical people. One of these was Nelson Lee, an actor and adaptor of plays, especially pantomimes. Andrew Melville I is reputed to have said that Lee was the inspiration behind his career.

This file contains 3 books entitled Nelson Lee's Pantomime Sketches, a series of beautifully executed drawings by Lee of costumes, characters and scenes from pantomimee. Lee was associated with the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and some of his memorabilia from this time are also included in the collection.

There is also a large album packed full of theatre programmes. The album is in poor condition and is not easy to use although it has an index.

The final part of the collection consists of 10 paintings of ballet costumes. These are undated but their style is reminiscent of the 1920's. Also includes a commonplace book belonging to the English actor William Dowton. This is primarily concerned with his final (Dowton's) benefit and the Kentish Circuit.
Related PlaceTheatre Royal, Drury Lane, Westminster, London
Access conditionsThis material is available for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU (
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