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Wyndham's

William George Robert Sprague

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Important events

(detail)1899 | construction

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(detail)William George Robert Sprague |main architect

It is perhaps not generally realized that almost all of London's superbly intimate turn-of-the-century playhouses were designed by one man; Sprague was the architect of Wyndham's (1899), the Albery (1903; see colour plate Vi), the Strand (1905), the Aldwych (1905), the Globe (1906), the Queen's (1907), the Ambassadors (1913) and the St Martin's (1916). He also designed several other theatres in the London area, most of which have been destroyed. The Coronet (1898), now the Gaumont Cinema in Netting Hill Gate, and the Camden (1901) in Camden Town still survive, though under threat of demolition. The Edward VII in Paris, though apparently extremely French, was also designed by Sprague.

 

In:  Glasstone, Victor: Victorian and Edwardian Theatres: An Architectural and Social Survey. Harvard 1975 p. 104

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History

Wyndham's now seats 769, but when it opened it accommodated about 1,200 people: 540 on satin-upholstered tip-up chairs, the rest on undivided pit and gallery benches. To accentuate the intimacy, a boudoir version of Louis XVI was chosen. The ceiling paintings were a Jin de siecle rendering of Boucher. The picture-frame proscenium, one of the last of its kind remaining in London, is surmounted by a bust which is reputedly of Mary Moore, Charles Wyndham's leading lady and later his wife. She is flanked by various admirers: Sheridan, Goldsmith and two winged adolescents. The plaster palm fronds were apparently insufficient for the Wyndham family, who suburbanized Sprague's meticulous finish with a few potted specimens, both in the auditorium and in the saloon.

 

In: Glasstone, Victor: Victorian and Edwardian Theatres: An Architectural and Social Survey. Harvard 1975 p. 103

 

 

Author: Victor Glasstone

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