The "Scaene of Elysium": painters, plaintiffs and paradise in John Dryden's Tyrannick Love (1669)
This article examines surviving evidence related to the work of three leading artists who painted scenery for the Restoration stage: Isaac Fuller, Robert Streater [Streeter] and Robert Robinson. Taking as its starting point Allardyce Nicoll's account of the Restoration stage in his influential 1923 History of English Drama, the article argues that our knowledge of Restoration theatre scenery remains in need of new methodologies that are not based solely on evidence derived from printed play texts. Using Dryden's Tyrannick Love (1669) as a case study, I will show how legal accounts, surviving artworks produced for other sites and wider contemporaneous sources point to the complexity and quality of some scenes. Such scenery could play an active role in producing the meaning of a dramatic work, making it wholly understandable why the theatre companies made substantial financial investment in certain cases.