The full catalogue is printed as Part Two of Illustrated Playbills by Derek Forbes, a book distributed to members of the STR in autumn 2002 and available for purchase from the Society by non-members at £14.99 ($30 US). Members may buy further copies at £10.00 ($20 US).
The catalogue is not itself pictorial. It contains written descriptions of over one thousand engravings made available in about 1865 for illustrating posters and playbills. There are about seven hundred effective numbered entries. The majority deal with single engravings. A sizable minority of entries describe multiple engravings. Some of these comprise a few only. Others, like no.407 for "My Poll and My Partner Joe", list as one numbered entry up to a dozen or more separate woodcuts. Many single entries are collages of more than one scene, exemplified by no.401 for "Mary Clifford" headed 'One engraving embracing three incidents'.
How to use the catalogue
An abstract of the catalogue is available as a download from this site. The 700+ entries have been summarised and sorted alphabetically according to the play-title where known. Entries where the title is not given then follow, sorted in alphabetic order of theme or genre derived from the written description of the engraving(s). For this the following designations are introduced: acrobatics; adaptation; American (+ /slavery); animal act; Arctic; ballooning; biblical; burlesque &c.; circus; crime (+ /historical; /Scottish; /Turkish); dance; dog-drama; domestic (+ /crime); emblematic (+ /Shakespearean; /African &c.); equestrian; foreign (+ /French; /oriental &c.); gold rush; gypsy; historical (+ /domestic; /religious &c.); London; magical; maritime; masquerade; military (+ /Turkish &c.); migration; minstrels; mythological; pantomime (+ /circus); portrait; Punch; religious; riverine; rustic; Scottish; snowbound; sporting; supernatural; temperance. These are very rough-and-ready designations somewhat imperfectly accomplished, with much overlapping between, for example, 'crime' and 'historical', and with its own ambiguities in variants such as 'Scottish' and 'Crime/Scottish'.
Limitations of the abstract
Such an abstract is of limited value without the catalogue itself, but it has the purpose of bearing witness to Bath's wide range of topics and serves to alert researchers to references to a particular play or genre.
Readers with the full catalogue in hand who explore Bath's entries for their own purposes might well wish to amend and extend the electronic abstract. The list of summarised descriptions in the abstract is necessarily brief in the extreme. For example, Bath's entry no.436 appears in the catalogue as follows:
Much as this vivid picture deserves to be treated with respect, the one-line compression in the abstract reduces it to '436 / Wreck of the Royal George / maritime / Royal George all but sunk'. It is for those who download or rework the abstract to fill out the descriptive field for themselves.
The version of the abstract on this website is available free of charge. There are no restrictions on non-commercial use, save that acknowledgement to Bath's Catalogue, Illustrated Playbills (2002) and the STR will be expected in any publication or transmission making use of the material for academic purposes. For commercial use in any medium application must be made in advance to the General Editor of Publications, the Society for Theatre Research.