In 1884, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in his essay, A Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured, published in the Magazine of Art, “That national monument, after having changed its name to Park’s, to Webb’s, to Redington’s, and at last to Pollock’s, has now become, for the more part, a memory.”1

Stevenson was the most famous, but not the first nor the last commentator to evoke his own childhood in terms of the English toy theater or “juvenile drama,” and to regret its decline, while speaking disparagingly of the alternative toys that had taken its place.2 He was speaking of a toy originating from the Regency, which reached its height of popularity in the 1830s and 1840s. The publications consisted of printed and hand-colored sheets of characters and scenery based on actual productions, with a text of the play abridged for performance on a wooden theater, for which proscenium fronts and orchestras also were published. After 1850, little new original material was issued, although Webb and Pollock, whom Stevenson names, continued in business in the East End of London into the 1930s, selling new printings off the old plates in nearly adjacent streets, each professing only vague awareness of the other’s existence.