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Wynnstay Theatre

Francesco Bartolozzi after Henry William Bunbury. Wynnstay Theatre. Print, 1785

Patron of the arts Sir Watkin Williams Wynn (1749–1789) regularly held summer performances at a specially-built theater on his estate at Wynsstay, in North Wales.


This admission ticket, designed by caricaturist Henry William Bunbury and engraved by preeminent printmaker Francesco Bartolozzi, shows personifications of Comedy, Tragedy, Farce, and Pantomime playing around a tree, sharing the space like a perfectly-balanced theater season. A windmill in the background names each on a sail, just in case the viewer needs help recognizing them.


The titles of the season’s plays have been incorporated into the image: Venice Preserved, The Confederacy, and As You Like It appear on banners, The Agreeable Surprise can be read in large letters on the broadside in Farce’s hands, and Harlequin’s Invasion appears as a rebus: Harlequin, representing Pantomime, wields a club emblazoned “Invasion.”

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