It takes a bit of mental gymnastics for me to fully comprehend that this piece of paper is older than me; that it has been around to witness the shifting political, social, economic landscapes of nearly two centuries; that this same paper was once rolling off a printing press on the bustling Briggate Street in Leeds, England. before passing through a myriad of hands.
This is quite a feat for a broadside ephemera publication whose existence was intended to very fleeting indeed. Broadsides were paper advertisements, or messages printed on one side only and in mass quantity. Their purpose was to have a dramatic and immediate effect as they peppered the town, before being swept off the streets and dumped by the stack into trash cans. Often they outlived their usefulness after just one day on the streets.
This particular vestige of the nineteenth century tells of the popularity of theatre in English culture during the nineteenth century, the stories being told therein (Romeo & Juliet, and Invincibles in this case) attitudes towards advertisement, the means by which messages were printed and distributed and so on. There are some who would believe that the paper itself carries the energetic impressions of its situations; the information from its time in Leeds, and its travels henceforth, available to those with the ability to interpret them (see psychometry).
Whatever your beliefs, this theatre announcement is a rarity in today’s world, never intended to make it to 2012, and has reached this time with a fascinating history trailing out behind it.
Check back for weekly features of the ephemera on display, or for sale in Juniper books.