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THM/415 - Collection of material relating to French prisoners' theatricals at Portchester Castle 1810s
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Collection of material relating to French prisoners' theatricals at Portchester Castle 1810s

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415
Dates of Creation ca. 1810-1811
Name of Creator French Napoleonic Prisoners
Language of Material English French
Physical Description 1 box, 3 files

Scope and Content

This collection contains manuscript documents relating a group of French prisoners' theatre performances at Portchester Castle. It contains scripts, abstracts and letters from French prisoners and Pierre Charles Limozin to Captain Charles William Paterson in French and English. It also includes playbills in English.The material dates between 1810 and 1812, most of it on paper water marked "W. Sharp 1805" [possibly the same W. Sharp as the publisher at 8, Charles Street].

Administrative / Biographical History

This collection features materials relating to a group of French prisoners' who put on theatrical performances at Portchester Castle, Hampshire, during the Napoleonic wars 1810-1811. Portchester Castle is Britain's only example of a Roman fort, which is now owned and run by English Heritage. Portchester Castle has been renovated and rebuilt over the years, and became a palace in the time of Richard II. It was used as a prison for about 7,000 prisoners of war during the Napoleonic wars.

The main author of the playbills, some letters, abstracts and possibly scripts is the prisoner Pierre Charles Limozin. At 40 years old, he was sergeant major of the first regiment of the Paris guard. Limozin writes in excellent English, and it can be reasonably assumed that he provided the translations. It is not clear whether most the plays relate to plays that Limozin would have known, or whether they were all original. Certainly, The Protector's Birthday and The Heart's were original pieces. The plays would have been performed by officers who may have been familiar with the theatre and its staging. The letters and invitations are to Captain Charles William Paterson who was the agent for the French prisoners of war at Portchester Castle from January 1810 and was a supporter of the theatricals. Furthermore, two of the plays were in honour of Paterson.

Arrangement

The collection is organised into the following series:

  • THM/415/1 Scripts and Abstracts
  • THM/415/2 Playbills
  • THM/415/3 Letters

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance's Reading Room, which is located at Blythe House, 23 Blythe Rd, Olympia, London, W14 0QX. The Reading Room is open Tuesday to Friday between 10.15 am and 4.30 pm. Access to it is by appointment only. To request an appointment please email tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk or telephone 020 7942 2698.

Conditions Governing Use

Archive material may not be photocopied. Arrangements can be made to photograph material in the reading room using non-flash photography.

Acquisition Information

Purchase, September 2011.

Accruals

No accruals expected.

Subjects

Napoleonic War -- 1800-1815
Prisoners of war
Amateur theatre

Geographical Names

Portchester Castle (Portchester, England)

Cataloguing Info

Title Collection of material relating to French prisoners' theatricals at Portchester Castle 1810s
Creation Created by intern using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2011-10-12

Scripts and Abstracts

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material English French
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This series contains three full scripts, Les Extremes du Coeur [The Extremes of the Heart], La Fête du Protecteur, [The Protector's Birthday] and Roseliska Ou Amour Haine et Vengeance [Roseliska or Love, Hatred or Revenge], in French which were performed by a group of French prisoners held at Portchester Castle.

These scripts are original pieces created by the French prisoners. The seven remaining documents provide detailed abstracts or plot summaries of the theatricals performed by a group of French Prisoners at Portchester Castle. These abstracts of plot presumably were to inform Captain Charles William Paterson that the men were not performing anything subversive. The plot summaries refer to original works created by the French prisoners as well as well-known pieces from the time such as René Charles Guilbert de Pixerécourt's play Cœlina ou l’Enfant du mystère [Coelina, or The Child of Mystery] written in 1800. The abstracts are written in the hand of Pierre Charles Limozin.

Arrangement

This series has been arranged into scripts and abstracts and then alphabetically by title of the play.


Les Extremes du Coeur by unknown, script

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/1
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material French
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item is a ten page script for Les Extremes du Coeur [The Extremes of the Heart], written in French. The main characters include Blainval, Thibault, Janquot, Darmont, Sergent de Ville and Juliette. They were played by the French prisoners: Lafontaine, Farine, Breton, Grintgens and Vauthier. This play also appears to have been written in honour of Captain Charles William Paterson as it concludes with a ballet, a tribute to him and the gift of some verse.


La Fete du Protecteur by unknown, script

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/2
Dates of Creation ca.1810
Language of Material French
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item is an eight page script for La Fête du Protecteur, [The Protector's Birthday] divertissement with singing in one act, written in French. The main characters include Adolphe, Mathurin, Prosper and Justine. They were played by the French prisoners: Lafontaine, Breton, Grintgens and Vauthier. The play was written in honor of Captain Charles William Paterson's birthday and concludes with a ballet and a tableau displaying his name. The play was first performed at Portchester Depot.


Roseliska Ou Amour Haine et Vengeance by Lafontaine and Mouillefarine, script

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/3
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material French
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item is a forty-two page script for Roseliska Ou Amour Haine et Vengeance [Roseliska or Love, Hatred or Revenge], melodrama in three acts, written in French. It is written by Lafontaine and Mouillefarine, two French prisoners at Portchester Castle. After the title, there is a dedication to Paterson. The main characters include Stanislaw, Polowitz, Polinski, Metusko, Hokinski, Caske, Walko, Unofficial Sarland, Roseliska and Fresca. They were played by the French prisoners: Lafontaine, Blin, Revendy, Mouillefarine, Godele, Breton, Palluel, Sintor, Sutas and Grintgens. The play is set in Poland and was written for a group of French prisoners to perform in Portchester Castle.


Abstract of the Birthday of Lise; Abstract of the Bossomanie or Hunch-backs For Ever ; The Gallant Cobler by unknown, abstracts

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/4
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item contains a summary of each play in English performed by French prisoners at Portchester Castle. The plays summarized include The Birthday of Lise, vaudeville in two acts; The Bossomanie or Hunch-backs For Ever , vaudeville in one act; The Gallant Cobler, a vaudeville in the Billings gate style. This item was sent to Captain Charles William Paterson.


Abstract of The Botanique Lesson by unknown

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/5
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

The item contains a summary of the play The Botanique Lesson in English which was performed by French prisoners at Portchester Castle.


Abstract of The Botanique Lesson; The Prussian Milk Maid; Mr William by unknown, abstracts

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/6
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item contains a summary of each play in English performed by French prisoners at Portchester Castle. The plays summarized include The Botanique Lesson; The Prussian Milk Maid; Mr William. This item was translated into English.


Abstract and script of The Hearts by unknown

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/7
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item is a six page summary of each act and translation of the play Les Extremes du Coeur, written by the French prisoners.The main characters include Blainval, Thibault, Janquot, Darmont, Sergent de Ville and Juliette. They were played by the French prisoners: Lafontaine, Farine, Breton, Grintgens and Vauthier. The play concludes with a ballet and tribute to Captain Charles William Paterson and the gift of some verse.


Abstract of The Picture by Raphael; Coelina; The Supposed Enlisting by unknown

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/8
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item contains a summary of each play in English performed by French prisoners at Portchester Castle. The plays summarized include The Picture by Raphael; Coelina; The Supposed Enlisting. Cœlina could be based on René Charles Guilbert de Pixerécourt's play Cœlina ou l’Enfant du mystère ["Coelina, or The Child of Mystery"] written in 1800. This item was translated into English.


Abstract and script of The Protector's Birthday by unknown

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/9
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item is a four page summary of each act of The Protector's Birthday. The main characters were Mathurin, Adolphe, Prosper and Justine. The play concludes with a ballet and a tableau displaying the name of Captain Charles William Paterson. The play was first performed at Portchester Depot. The play was translated into English by the French prisoners.


Abstract of The Wife With Two Husbands; The Supposed Enlisting by unknown, abstract

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/1/10
Dates of Creation ca. 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item contains a summary of each play in English performed by French prisoners at Portchester Castle. The plays summarized include The Wife With Two Husbands, melodrama in three acts; The Supposed Enlisting. The Wife with two husbands could be based on René Charles Guilbert de Pixerécourt's La Femme à Deux Maris [The Wife With Two Husbands], written in 1802 . This item was translated into English.


Playbills

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/2
Dates of Creation ca. 1810-1811
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This series contains invitations to performances by French prisoners at Portchester Castle. The invitations are in the format of a playbill and take the form of a handwritten letter. They provide a list of the theatricals performed by the prisoners each day. His docketing uses the phrase "French Prisoners Play Bill", also giving the date of the performance. They conclude with the time of the performance. The invitations are written in the hand of Pierre Charles Limozin to Captain Paterson. These invitations illustrate how the group of French prisoners at Portchester Castle promoted their performances.

Arrangement

This series has been arranged chronologically.


Invitation to performances

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/2/1
Dates of Creation Sept 21 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This is an invitation from Pierre Charles Limozin on behalf of the French prisoners to Captain Charles William Paterson. The listing of peformances for 21 September 1810 include Let us Try; The Billeting and Coelina or The Child of Mystery.


Invitation to performances

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/2/2
Dates of Creation Sept 24 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This is an invitation from Pierre Charles Limozin on behalf of the French prisoners to Captain Charles William Paterson. The listing of peformances for 24 September 1810 include The Birth day of Lise; The Bossomanie or Hunch backs For Ever and The Gallant Cobler.


Invitation to performances

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/2/3
Dates of Creation Oct 1 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This is an invitation from Pierre Charles Limozin on behalf of the French prisoners to Captain Charles William Paterson. The listing of peformances for 1 October 1810 include The Faeries of Love; The Perilous Forest and The Bossomanie or Hunchbacks For Ever.


Invitation to performances

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/2/4
Dates of Creation Oct 8 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This is an invitation from Pierre Charles Limozin on behalf of the French prisoners to Captain Charles William Paterson. The listing of peformances for 8 October 1810 include The Buffet, one act vaudeville's first representation; The Billeting; The Wooden Sword, an Italian Pantomine in two acts, and The Gallant Cobbler.


Invitation to performances

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/2/5
Dates of Creation Oct 12 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This is an invitation from Pierre Charles Limozin on behalf of the French prisoners to Captain Charles William Paterson. The listing of peformances for 12 October 1810 include The Wife with Two Husbands and The Supposed Enlisting.


Invitation to performances

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/2/6
Dates of Creation Oct 19 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This is an invitation from Pierre Charles Limozin on behalf of the French prisoners to Captain Charles William Paterson. The listing of peformances for 19 October 1810 include The Faeries of Love; The Wife with Two Husbands and Mr Vautour or The Proprietor Under Seal.


Invitation to performances

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/2/7
Dates of Creation Oct 20 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This is an invitation from Pierre Charles Limozin on behalf of the French prisoners to Captain Charles William Paterson. The listing of performances for 20 October 1810 include The Barber of Seville and Drelindindin, or The Ringer of the Samaritan.


Invitation to performances

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/415/2/8
Dates of Creation Oct 22 1810
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This is an invitation from Pierre Charles Limozin on behalf of the French prisoners to Captain Charles William Paterson. The listing of performances for 22 October 1810 include The Perilous Forest and The Botany Lesson.