First Edition of the" Dramatic Time-Piece"
BROWNSMITH, John. Dramatic Time-piece: or perpetual monitor. Being a calculation of the length of time every act takes in the performing, in all the acting plays at the Theatres-Royal of Drury-Lane, Covent-Garden, and Hay-Market, as Minuted from repeated Observations, during the Course of many Years Practice. As also The Time of Night when Half-Price will be taken, and the certain Period when any Play will be over... London: J. Almon , 1767.
Full later drab paper boards. Printed paper labels on front board and spine. Top edge dyed brown, others speckled brown. Title-page is backed and toned. Final leaf of index toned. Some light toning and brittleness to text leaves, but generally a very nice copy.

This work illustrates the timing for all contemporary plays performed in London theaters, including many of Shakespeare's. It has the timing for each individual act as well as for the whole play as a total, and the actual time in the evening that the actual play ends. John Brownsmith was a "prompter, actor and author... [His] last [written] work was The Dramatic Time-Piece: or Perpetual Monitor. This handy volume provided theatre folk with the running-times of the acts of most of the popular plays done at the London Theaters. " (A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers... by Philip H. Highfill, Kalman A. Burnim, Edward A. Langhans)

"The utility of this piece is manifold, as it will (if duly attended to) prevent their cattle from catching cold, by waiting so long at the doors of the playhouses in bad weather, a circumstance heretofore unavoidable; it will also be a means of their servants staying at home, till within a very little of their time of attendance, instead of assembling in public houses, of houses of ill fame, to the destruction of their morals, properties, and constitutions." (From the Preface).

HBS # 68540 $1,500

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