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Joseph Grimaldi

Born in 1778, Joseph Grimaldi was the toast of Georgian Britain and went on to become one of the most influential comic actors and celebrated clowns of all time. His innovative methods transformed comic theatre, leaving a legacy still seen in pantomimes today. The typical clown and master of slapstick humour; with white face, red nose and baggy costume, was Grimaldi's original, comic creation.
 
The Library of Birmingham's Theatre Royal Collection contains unique manuscripts written in Grimaldi's own hand, along with numerous playbills promoting his hugely anticipated appearances in the city. 
 

Theatre Royal playbill

Joseph Grimaldi Gallery

Images from our collections recalling Grimaldi's theatrical career and time spent in Birmingham.
Grimaldi as Clown in Mother Goose

Grimaldi - Joey the Clown

Joseph Grimaldi, an English actor, created the kind of clown that we see today.
A sketch of Grimaldi onstage

Birmingham Welcomes Grimaldi

Joseph Grimaldi first appeared at Birmingham's Theatre Royal in 1810.
Clown, Harlequin and Pantaloon

Harlequin and Mother Goose

Grimaldi was best known for his comic performance as Clown in Mother Goose.  
Birmingham Theatre Royal Playbill

Grimaldi's 1817 Tour

Grimaldi toured England and Scotland extensively during 1817, making numerous appearances on stage in Birmingham.  
Grimaldi on stage

Grimaldi’s Farewell to Birmingham

Grimaldi bids farewell to the city in 1823.