Henry Irving's pocketwatch, formerly belonging to Edwin Forrest
"Henry Irving from The Donnalson/Clover Club/ Pila Pa/ Edwin Forrest/ Dec 6th 1882/ To you health."
On the reverse in roundal initials: 'EF'
Genrously presented as a gift to the Garrick Club by Ann Rachlin MBE, at a dinner held at the Garrick Club on 7th December 2017, (a day later than the anniversary of the watch being presented to Irving).
Henry Iriving's pocketwatch in presentation case with key, formerly belonging to Edwin Forrest. Given to Irving, by Mr Thomas Donaldson, on behalf of the Clover Club, at a breakfast held there in his honour, on the 6th December 1883. The event and speeches were recorded in 'Impressions of America' by Joseph Hatton, p207.
The watch had been in the private possession of Mr Donaldson, who on giving it to Henry Irving said: " ...I desire to present you with the watch of the greatest genius America has ever produced on the mimic stage - Edwin Forrest". The gift apparently brought tears to Irving's eyes and he clased it to his heart and kissed it "reverently". This presentation to Irving marks a significant moment in Ango-American relations after each country's leading actors (Forrest and Macready) had fallen out forty years earlier. It was a public feud, underpinned by mounting patriotic and class rivalry. The tension rose and eventually culminated in the 1849 Astor Place riots, in Manhatten, where Macready was performing Macbeth. Twenty two people were killed by soldiers opening fire to bring the crowd under control.