Special Collections & Archives

 

Charles Dickens Theatre Collection

Dealings with the firm of Dombey and Son wholesale, retail, and for exportation

This novel, popularly known as Dombey and Son, was published in serial parts between October 1846 and April 1848, but theatrical adaptations were few, reinforcing the downward trend of Dickens on stage. In England, there seem to have been reservations about dramatising Dickens’ novel: there was only one adaptation on stage before the serialisation was complete. This was ‘Good Mrs Brown the Child Stealer’ by Tom Taylor, which was performed at the Strand Theatre eight months before the completion of the serial parts, so that Taylor had to invent his own ending. It is possible that another version, by Mr. W. Sidney, was penned before the serialisation was complete, as it differs from the published work, but it was not produced until 4 June 1848 on the stage of the Theatre Royal, Marylebone.

The tradition of creating tableaux on stage, after the illustrations in Dickens’ novels, was continued with productions of Dombey and Son. The Strand production included 15 of these tableaux.

In America, John Brougham’s stage version of the novel was widely popular. Indeed, it appears that versions of Dombey and Son staged in England were galvanised by the later introduction of the American, Brougham version. In the 1870s, the majority of productions of Dombey and Son on stage were performed in America, with interest in the play tailing off at the end of the century.

Special Collections Holdings

Item type Item information Author Item number
Book

Dombey and Son

(Bradbury & Evans, 1848)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

F046964

 

Playscript

Dombey & Son ; or, Good Mrs Brown, the child stealer : a drama

(Penny Pictorial Play no. 4, 1848)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0596104

 

Playscript

Dombey & Son ; or, Good Mrs Brown, the child stealer : a drama

(Penny Pictorial Play no. 4, n.d.)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Harwood Cooper

0590810

Playscript

Dombey & Son : dramatized from Dickens’ novel

(S. French, New York, 1850)

John Brougham
(1814-1880)

0590653
0590654
0590655

Playscript

Captain Cuttle : a comic drama

(first performed at Burton's Theatre, New York, 14 January 1850)

John Brougham
(1814-1880)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0592544

 

Playscript

Dombey and Son

(J. Dicks, 1880)

John Brougham
(1814-1880)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0590656
0597111
0590375

Programme

The House of Dombey

(performed at Kodak Hall, Harrow, London, 7 November 1906)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Florence Teignmouth Shore

F174827

 

Programme

Two Peeps at Pickwick; Dombey and Son

(performed at the Savoy Theatre, Strand, London, 14 July 1911)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Metcalfe Wood

F174826

 

Programme

Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens

(performed at the Criterion Theatre, Westminster, London, 19 November 1951)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Emlyn Williams
(1905-1987)

F172755

 

Programme

Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens

(performed at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 29 February 1960)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Emlyn Williams
(1905-1987)

F173232

 

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Last Updated: 02/06/2016