A monster representing the miscegenated state of the theatre, combining tragedy, comedy, and pantomime

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A monster representing the miscegenated state of the theatre, combining tragedy, comedy, and pantomime. Coloured etching by S De Wilde, 1807, after "Sylvester Scrutiny". In the background on the left is Covent Garden and on the right is Drury Lane. An old man drives a flock of geese between the two. In the foreground stands a giant she-wolf with three human heads (the playwright Sheridan, the actor Kemble and the clown Grimaldi), with a fourth, a harlequin, looking over the top. The wolf suckles contemporary dramatists who worked in different genres (melodrama, pantomime etc.), and tramples under foot Shakespeare and the "Regular dramas" of the Jacobean stage. The wolf may be an allusion to the "Wolves' club" (see the British Museum catalogue, nos. 12919 and 13367), and also represents the she-wolf which suckled Romulus and Remus. Created 4 December 1807. Theater. Wolves. Monsters. Contributors: Sylvester Scrutiny (active 1807); De Wilde, Samuel (1751–1832). Work ID: kgwg7eqr.

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