The Museum Collection

The Burning of the Theatre in Richmond Virginia

ID #: 376
Creator: B. Tanner
Date: 1812
Format: Engraving
Dimensions: 12.5" x 15.75"
Source: Museum Purchase
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Publisher: B. Tanner
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Publish Date: February 24, 1812


The complete title of this engraving is "The Burning of the Theater in Richmond, Virginia on the Night of 26th December, 1811" The piece was published by B. Tanner in Philadelphia on February 24, 1812.

This is a rare early historic print of the fire which destroyed the Richmond Theatre during the December 26, 1811 performance, claiming the lives of 72 people. After the fire, acting was banned while the city of Richmond went into mourning.

Edgar Allan Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, gave her final performances in this theatre and died on December 8, about two weeks before the theatre burned. Monumental Church was built on the site of the theatre, and Poe's foster parents owned Pew #80 in the new church, which counted among its congregation John Marshall.

The Poe Museum owns two copies of this print. One in hand-colored, and the other is not.