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Arthur Lloyd's Command Performances

The Programme for Arthur's Command performance at the Whitehall Gardens on February the 10th 1868 - Click to enlarge.The dates for Arthur Lloyd's appearances before royalty can be a little confusing, the first article here notes an episode which happened on Wednesday February 19th 1868.

To back up this date, Peter Honri's 'John Wiltons Music Hall' also mentions this episode for the same date and then an earlier episode with A.L. performing for royalty in September of the previous year.

Right - And now you can see the actual programme here... Courtesy Marion Lloyd

Harry Robert Lloyd, Arthur Lloyd's son, wrote a letter to the Evening Standard in 1948 also mentioning this occasion.

And the Tomahawk mentions another royal occasion with A.L. in May 1867.

 

An Extract from 'The Variety Stage'

Arthur Lloyd and Albert Edward (son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) Created Prince of Wales 8 December 1841, aged 4 weeks, in London. Acceded as Edward VII 22 January 1901. Mr 'Jolly' Nash and Mr Arthur Lloyd are among the few artistes of the varietystage who have had the honour of singing before the Prince of Wales.

Notice from the ERA Almanack Advertiser 1871 about Arthur's Royal encounters - Courtesy Peter Charlton - Click to go to the City Hall Glasgow page and see it enlargedMr Nash, in his interesting little book of reminiscences, recalls the occasion above mentioned of his appearance with Mr Lloyd before his H.R.H., of which he gives the following graphic account:-

'Accompanied by Mr W. Holland, the 'Napoleonic' caterer, we were ushered into a splendid apartment by powdered attendants in gorgeous liveries, and a rich repast was set before us. After we had regaled ourselves, we were told that we were required in the drawing-room, and that we were to sing our songs in exactly the same way as we should do in a music hall.

'We found ourselves in the presence of the Prince and about fourteen noblemen, who had been dining, and they were then lounging about the saloon, enjoying cigars, champagne cup and other cooling drinks. It was the quietest function I ever assisted at, although some of the papers described it as something too dreadfully awful. Our accompanist seated himself at the piano, and I, with a preliminary bow to the assembly, commenced singing a popular song with me at that time-"The Merry Toper." This song gave great delight to the noble swells, after which Mr Lloyd appeared and sang some of his favourite ditties, all of which pleased our aristocratic patrons. My own contributions consisted of the above, also one called " Rackety jack," " I'm not at all Inquisitive," and a few others.

When I entered the room as "Rackety jack," one of the company, the Duke of R-, called out to me to take off my hat and keep it off. I had taken it off to make my preliminary bow, but had resumed it to give effect to the character I was presenting, and I now appealed to him in this way, "Mr Chairman" -loud laughter from the noble audience, who appeared mightily tickled at my calling the autocratic individual "Mr Chairman," and they called him " Mr Chairman" for the remainder of the evening, and thought it great fun. "'Mr Chairman," said I, "am I to give this song as if I were in a music hall?" "'Certainly, Nash," from all the other noble guests, "and keep your hat on, if necessary."

'The noble chairman was a duke with a very serious cast of countenance, and he appeared perfectly horrified at my presumption. His comic anger seemed to afford the Prince and his companions great delight. Now Mr " Rackety Jack " commenced to sing of his jolly sort of life, with a refrain to each verse as follows:-

Jolly John Nash"Hey! hi! here stop! Waiter, waiter! Fizz, pop! I'm Rackety Jack, no money I lack, And I'm the boy for a spree." 'When I came to the refrain, I addressed the solemn-looking nobleman, " Now then, Mr Chair-man, chorus altogether." This was received with roars of laughter by the nobles, who joined in the chorus con spirito, and the room resounded with- " Hey! hi! here stop! Waiter, waiter! Fizz, pop I'm Rackety jack," etc.

Left - Jolly John Nash

'We continued,' adds Mr Nash, 'to sing alternately-Arthur Lloyd and myself -until about four in the morning, and left with an assurance that we had much pleased his Lordship and his princely guest.'

Above text from 'The Variety Stage' - Stuart & Parks.

 

The following is from Peter Honri's 'John Wilton's Music Hall'

21st FEBRUARY, 1868:

A. L. told me about Wednesday's performance before His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, when Alfred Vance joined him and Nash for a Royal show. Apparently, they were anxious to see if Vance trimmed his songs at all to avoid any suggestion of offence to H. R. H. Especially as we all know how prone V. is to going the entire animal. "Chickaleary Cove", for instance, is always prefaced by a remark to the audience:

"Ah! Here you are, my rollicking pals!"

The Prince of Wales enjoyed the full version of "Chickaleary", and in fact, according to Lloyd, Alfred Vance's success exceeded that of Jolly Nash and himself that evening and before that aristocratic audience. Just now, Arthur Lloyd appears in sober black with eccentricities in white satin. It was only last September, at a "smoking concert" of the Royal Amateur Orchestral Society, that he made his first official bow before the Prince, and indeed improvised a royal couplet:

"See how sweetly now he smiles, as pleasant as can be;
it's the sort of smile I read about, but very seldom see!"

Wednesday's show at Whitehall Gardens for Lord Carrington, was Lloyd's third Royal Performance in six months.

 

An Extract from a letter to the 'Evening Standard' and the Radio Times c1948

By Harry Robert Lloyd

Harry's letter, also printed in the Radio Times - Courtesy Christine Rowe nee LLoydI listened with great interest recently to ‘Following in Father’s Footsteps’ and noted Dan Leno junior’s claim that his father (dear old Dan Leno) was the first music-hall artist to appear by command before Royalty. Although I do not wish to detract from his claim, I have before me a facsimile of a programme dated Wednesday, February 19, 1868, in which my father the late Arthur Lloyd, the late A. G. Vance, and the late J. (Jolly John) Nash, appeared before the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward the V11) at the Whitehall Gardens at a party given by the late Lord Carrington. Although the programme does not state that it was a command performance, it is nevertheless surmounted by the Prince of Wales’s feathers and the manager of (I think) Evan’s Music-hall told them that they were commanded to appear before His Royal Highness. Therefore this proves that the music-hall profession was honoured by Royalty many years before the time of dear old Dan. --- Harry (King) Robert Lloyd, London.

Extract f rom the King-Lloyd Theatre And Music Hall Family History Site

 

A blast at the rising popularity of music hall comic singers, London, 1867

See Theatreland Maps‘LOW ART IN HIGH PLACES. Mr. Gye is to be sent to Coventry, the market for Song in the Haymarket may literally be said to be in the market, and to be had for a song. Mario may turn his fine organ in Paris (if the Parisians will only hear him), and Grisi may go to Madrid (if she has the courage). There is every chance of there being no Lucca about either Opera House. Comic vocalism is all the rage. Music à la Lloyd is to supersede music unalloyed by buffoonery. High Art is to be knocked off her pedestal, and Low Art is grinningly to assume her place, and cry, "Here we are." Royalty patronizes the Comic Muse, and the world consequently apes royalty. Whitehall affords a shelter to the Jolly Nash, and forthwith St. George’s Hall gives a home to Arthur Lloyd. We take our wives to hear "Tootle-tootle-tootle" on the cornet, and our daughters are lost in admiration at "Pollee-woollee-hama." Of course they laugh immoderately because they have heard somewhere or other in fashionable circles that Royalty one night laid aside its dignity and laughed loud and long at the melancholy exhibition. We owe royalty a deep debt of gratitude for directing public taste into so new and healthy and refined and elevated a channel. Arthur Lloyd, we greet you; the Jolly Nash here’s our hand. Covent Garden a long adieu: Her Majesty’s, a last farewell. Our stall is vacant: the Lobby knows us not. The harmonies of Verdi and Donizetti and Gounod are no longer the thing.’

From 'The Tomahawk,' London, Saturday, 11 May 1867. Courtesy John Culme

See also Peter Charlton's 'Lion Comiques' here.

See also Arthur Lloyd's Sketch interview here.

See also 'The ERA' A.L. Reminiscences here.

See also Arthur Lloyd's Biography here.

 

You may find the following pages from this site of interest: