12 June 2009
AMSTERDAM 1772 -- [FOKKE, Jan]. Histoire van den Amsterdamschen Schouwburg. -- Histoire van den nieuwen Amsterdamschen Schouwburg. Amsterdam: G. Warnars and P. den Hengst, 1772 and 1775.
Two works bound in one, 8o (204 x 125 mm). First work: engraved frontispiece, title-page vignette and 4 double-page folding plates; second work: engraved title-page vignette and 5 double-page folding plates. All plates after SIMON FOKKE and NOACH VAN DER MEER the younger (1741-1822). Contemporary half calf with speckled boards (joints cracked).
FIRST EDITION of the earliest illustrated account of the old theater in Amsterdam, published in the year of its destruction by fire. The Amsterdam Schouwburg had been erected in 1638 on the site of the old Amsterdam Academy and was the first permanent theater in Amsterdam. Initially the theater saw 90 productions per year, during the 18th century it became more and more a place for opera. In May 1772, during a performance of Monsigny's Déserteur, a fire swept through the building, destroying it completely and killing eighteen people. Fokke's dramatic illustrations in the first work capture the outbreak of fire on the stage behind the scenes, the burning of the whole building illuminating the night sky with curious onlookers thronging the streets and bridges, and an internal view of the gutted theater. The plates in the second work illustrate the exterior and interior of the new theater. SIMON FOKKE (1712-84), brother of the author Jan Fokke, was an actor as well as a stage designer. He had designed the set for the opera Demostenes at the Schouwburg.
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