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Picture of the Old Globe Theater

Picture of the Old Globe Theater

Picture of the Elizabethan Theater famous for the first production of plays by William Shakespeare
in the Elizabethan era

The Picture of the old Globe Theater, Bankside in Southwark, London 
The Globe was built 1597 -1598 and owned by Richard Burbage.  The old Globe was a magnificent amphitheatre, as shown in the picture at the top of the page. Sources for such pictures are extremely scarce but although little of the Elizabethan theatres survive, there are some facts which can be deduced about their appearance.

Most common are the illustrated maps that were popular during the Tudor era which clearly show the outlines of theatres. These map views together with the valuable contribution of the diary and visual record of the Swan Theatre by Johannes de Witt help us to form a picture of the first Globe theater. 

Picture of the old Theatre - The Map View
Maps of London clearly show the architecture of the buildings, and these have enabled an approximate picture of the old theatre, such as the example picture at the top of the page, to be drawn. 

Globe Theatre Map Picture by Claes Van Visscher

Engraving from Map Picture by Claes Van Visscher
London 1616

The Map Views
The picture of the map by Claes Van Visscher clearly shows the architecture and location of the old Globe Theatre and its close proximity to the Bear Garden ( later replaced by the Fortune Theatre). Other significant map views are as follows:

  • The Hollar - drawn circa 1640 by Czech born engraver Wenceslaus Hollar.  Depicts the re-built Globe and the Bear-baiting arena
  • The Agas - The Civitas Londonium map engraving printed in 1633 and associated with the name of Ralph Agas. Based on a map produced by Braun and Hopenberg between 1554-1572 and features the bull and bear-bating arenas 
  • The Norden - The Civitas Londini map engraving printed in 1600 based on drawings by John Norden . Features The Rose Theatre , which was to be demolished in 1601, and the bear-bating arena

Inside picture of the old Globe theatre - none exist!
Not one inside picture of the old theater is in existence, however, a picture of another amphitheatre, the Swan,  has survived. The picture of the Swan Theatre is by Johannes de Witt, a Dutch traveller, who visited the Swan between 1596-1598. The picture was accompanied by what is probably the single most important source of our knowledge of the internal layout of the London theatres. It consists of a diary note together with a sketch of the internal layout of the Swan Theatre.The amphitheatres were all similar in design. A separate section details the Structure and layout

The Fire and the Puritans
The Globe was only in use until 1613, when on June 29 a fire broke out at Theatre when a canon was fired during a performance of Henry VIII catching the roof on fire and the building burned to the ground. In 1614 Theatre was rebuilt . In 1644 it was demolished by the Puritans. For full details of the history please clickthe appropriate link.A Timeline is also available clarifying the key dates in Old Globe Theatre History & Timeline.

The New Globe Theater - Picture
The site of the Shakespearean theatre was rediscovered in the 20th century and a reconstruction of Theatre has been built near the spot. The following section features an unusual picture of the stage and a Timeline charting the building.

New Globe Theater modelled on the original - Pictures, stage, replica, model theatre
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