[SHAKESPEARE, William]. A collection of 9 letters and documents referring to Shakespeare's plays, signed by writers, actors and booksellers, including: Charles DICKENS (1812-1870). Autograph letter signed to Mrs Cowden Clarke, 16 April 1848, 1½ pages, 8vo; a document signed, 1 May 1848; the autograph signatures of his theatrical company on a folio sheet; and 2 printed programmes for performances. David GARRICK (1717-1779). Autograph manuscript signed, 14 lines of verse entitled 'Upon a Golden Pen', one page, 8vo; Charles BURNEY (1726-1814). Autograph letter signed to J.C.Walker, 9 October 1793, 3 pages, 4to; Edward MILLER (1731-1807). Autograph letter signed to Dr Burney, 18 June 1800, 3 pages, 4to; and 6 other signatories; one document in French (occasional discolouration and slight wear, several letters mounted), loosely inserted, with other items, in an album, 20th-century green morocco gilt by Riviere, gilt fillet borders, the spine gilt in seven compartments, lettered in two, roll-tooled gilt turn-ins, gilt edges (corners bumped, extremities rubbed).
Dickens responds to a request for the part of Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor, which his company of amateurs was to perform in Scotland, 'As I am the stage manager you could not have addressed your enquiry to a more fit and proper person'. The document signed gives the rules for members of the company to observe. The signatures of the company include, as well as Charles and Catherine Dickens and Georgina Hogarth, Mark Lemon, George Cruickshank, G.H.Lewes, Augustus Egg, and others.
Dr Charles Burney writes of his research on Metastasio, finding a resemblance in the latter's youthful tragedy, Giustino, to the ending of Romeo and Juliet. Edward Miller (historian and organist, Burney's former pupil), writes on the death of Susannah Burney, quoting from Hamlet.
William Wavell and John Wilson write to booksellers, mentioning early editions of Shakespeare's plays, Wilson also having a note by Boswell. A letter from the American journalist, William Coleman, to Thomas Philipps (in Dublin) on theatrical matters describes the enthusiastic reception of Kean in Boston, and his forthcoming appearance in Hamlet in New York (10.3.1821). Other letters are signed by Daniel Terry (actor), Francois Joseph Talma (who played in French productions of Shakespeare), Squire Bancroft, and late 19th-century actors.
Mary Cowden-Clarke (1809-1898), the recipient of the letter by Dickens, was a talented amateur actress, and the author of a Complete Concordance to Shakespeare. She met Dickens in 1848, and played Mistress Quickly, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, later describing the tour in her Recollections of Writers.