Irving Room

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Irving Room

A museum within a museum, this room pays homage to Merton’s friend and one of the biggest names of the Victorian stage, Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905). Irving was an actor-manager who enjoyed huge success, particularly at London’s Lyceum, alongside the actress Dame Ellen Terry (1847-1928). Famous for his acting style in plays such as ‘The Bells’ and ‘Hamlet’, he was also a theatrical innovator, being the first person to dim the auditorium lights to highlight the stage. He is also reputed to be the inspiration behind ‘Dracula’, which was written by his stage manager, Bram Stoker (1847-1912). The actor was a frequent visitor to Bournemouth and stayed at the Royal Bath Hotel on a number of occasions. Merton acquired a collection of memorabilia, from the human skull used in ‘Hamlet’, to Irving’s stage make-up. A large proportion of the collection was obtained from Christie’s auction of ‘theatrical relics’ in 1905. Merton converted his library into the Irving Museum, attracting donations of more Irving related objects. Explore artwork currently on display in the Irving Room.

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