Situated in the heart of the West End and Theatreland, the Garrick Club was founded in 1831 as a private members’ club by a group of literary gentlemen under the patronage of the King’s brother, the egalitarian Duke of Sussex. They announced that the club would be a place where ‘actors and men of refinement and education might meet on equal terms.’
The first members were a sophisticated and cosmopolitan group, which included famous Dickens and Thackeray. Today the club has around 1,300 members including many of the most distinguished actors and men of letters in England.
The club possesses an important theatrical library that includes many manuscripts and documents, a valuable collection of play-texts and tens of thousands of playbills and theatre programmes. However, the greatest treasure of the Garrick Club is the collection of theatrical paintings and drawings, much the largest and most comprehensive in existence.