Date and Place of Birth:
18th November 1836, 17 Southampton Street, London,
W.S. Gilbert was the son of William Gilbert a
retired naval surgeon and Anne Gilbert. Also had three daughters.
Great Ealing School, London. Kings College, London.
Chronology/Biography of William Schwenck Gilbert:
1849: Returned to
London after many years traveling Europe with his family.
of his first play "Uncle Baby" at the Royal Lyceum Theatre.
1867: W.S. Gilbert
became a Clerk in the Privy Council Office in London.
1864: Called to
the bar,but was unsuccessful in landing well paid briefs and supplemented
his income by writing for magazines such as "Punch" and
"Fun". His humorous verse was published under the pseudonym
1866: W.S. Gilbert
writes a Christmas show called "Dulcemara or the Little Duck
and the Great Quack".
of the "Bab Ballads" as a book. Performance of his last
comic burlesque "The Pretty Druidess". He met Arthur
Sullivan for the first time when he was introduced to him by
his lifelong friend Frederic Clay at a rehearsal for "Ages
Ago", an operetta with music by Clay.
1870: Wrote "The
Palace of Truth" which was his first stage hit.
1871: Wrote "Pygmalion
and Galatea" for the stage.
with Gilbert a Beckett on a political satire called "The Happy
Land". This was briefly banned because of its caricatures of
1875: First performance
of "Trial by Jury" with music by Arthur
Sullivan, staged at the Opera Comique. Collection of his stage
plays published by Chatto and Windus.
1876: Richard D'Oyly
Carte formed his comic opera company. Split between his parents.
1877: First performance
of "The Sorcerer".
1878: First performance
of HMS Pinafore.
1880: First performance
of "The Pirates of Penzance".
1881: First performance
of "Patience" a satire about Oscar
Wilde and his circle. Opening of the Savoy Theatre on 10th October
by Richard D'Oyly Carte which was to make the joint works of Gilbert
and Sullivan famous.
1882: First performance
1885: First performance
of "The Mikado".
1887: First performance
Commemorative Plaque to W.S. Gilbert
on the Victoria Embankment of Thames, London
(© Anthony Blagg)
1888: First performance
of "The Yeomen of the Guard".
First performance of "The Gondoliers".
W.S. Gilbert quarreled with Arthur Sullivan,
supposedly about the style of carpet and its cost in the Savoy Theatre.
The rift between Gilbert and Sullivan
was temporarily halted and a new collaboration "Uptopia Limited"
First performance of "The Grand Duke".
1900: Death of Sir
1907: W.S. Gilbert
1909: After the
death of Sullivan Gilbert tried to form a partnership with the composer
Edward German who had finished some of his musical pieces but their
work "Fallen Fairies" was not a success.
1911: His last play
"The Hooligan" was a powerful short dramatic sketch which
shocked the audience in its attention to reality.
- 1869: "The
"More Bab Ballads." "The Happy Land" (A satirical
play based on his earlier work "The Wicked World"
"Thespis or the God's Grown Old." (first Collaboration
- 1875: "Trial
by Jury". For Richard D'Oyly Carte.
- 1876: "Princess
"The Sorcerer". "Engaged".
"The Pirates of Penzance."
- 1881: "Patience
or Bunthorne's Bride".
Iolanthe or the Peer and the Peri."
- 1884: Princess
Ida, or Castle Adamant".
"The Mikado or the Town of Titipu".
- 1887: "Ruddigore,
or the Witch's Curse".
- 1888: "The
Yeomen of the Guard".
- 1889: "The
- 1892: "The
- 1894: "His
- 1896: "The
"Songs of a Savoyard".
- 1909: "Fallen
Fairies, (based on his earlier work "The Wicked World."
(Music by Edward German).
"The Hooligan". (Play).
6th August 1867 to Lucy Agnes Turner.
Date and Place of Death:
29th May 1911, Grim's Dyke, Harrow Weald, Middlesex,
England due to a heart attack brought on by rescuing a woman from
drowning in a lake on his country estate.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
Ashes at St. John the Evangelist Church,
Great Stanmore, London, England.
Places of Interest:
The Savoy Theatre, The Strand. Next to the Savoy
Hotel which was built later.
Monument plaque to him in a wall on the riverside
of the road at the Embankment.
W.S. Gilbert by Britain Unlimited
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