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David Garrick
Online Exhibition

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The Stratford Jubilee

In 1769 the town of Stratford sought Garrick's help in dedicating and decorating their new town hall. In return for a grant of freedom of the town—presented in a mulberry wood chest—Garrick supplied a statue of Shakespeare for an exterior niche, and paintings of both Shakespeare and himself. But Garrick did not stop there. He planned, financed, and was master of ceremonies for a three-day grand Shakespeare Jubilee. Satirized and eulogized almost in equal measure, torrential rains and flooding marred a festival that was an expensive pilgrimage of pomp and worship marked by serenades and recitations, fireworks and balls, horse races, commemorative memorabilia... but not a single play performed. A tribute to the memory of the man rather than the writings and performance, the Jubilee is perhaps the most important cultural event in the history of Shakespeare's reputation. This event marked the creation of Shakespeare as England's national poet, and the beginning of an industry of "bardolatry" that continues to this day.


Click "Learn More" to jump to a specific topic or "Next" to continue viewing the online exhibition in order.

Jubilee in Song
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The Procession
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A Cultural Industry
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Linking Garrick & Shakespeare
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Rescued by Farce
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