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date: 29 March 2020

Ticket (Fr. billet; Ger. Billet, Eintrittskarte; It. biglietto, bolletino, tesseralocked

  • Richard Macnutt

Extract

(Fr. billet; Ger. Billet, Eintrittskarte; It. biglietto, bolletino, tessera

A pass giving admission to a theatre or hall; stamped or engraved on metal (sometimes silver, regularly copper, bronze, brass, lead or tin), engraved on ivory or bone, or printed on thin card or paper. Research into this topic is still at a preliminary stage.

It is known that the first public opera house, the Teatro S Cassiano in Venice, had from 1637 both a subscription system and admission by single ticket, but no example of a ticket appears to survive. In London, the earliest known theatre tickets were circular metal ‘checks’. Bronze or brass checks are extant from two theatres on Bankside, the Bear Garden (in use c1585–1682) and Swan (c1595– c1632), and the Red Bull at Clerkenwell (c1605–63); none is dated, but the Red Bull checks state the parts of the theatre to which they give admittance. A silver check dated ...

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