The Burning of the Theatre in Richmond
Original Author: Benson John Lossing; B. Tanner, publisher
Created: Published February 25, 1812
Medium: Hand-colored aquatint

The Burning of the Theatre in Richmond, Virginia, on the Night of the 26th December 1811

In this hand-colored contemporary print, men, women, and children attempt to escape from a fire raging in the Richmond Theatre on the night of December 26, 1811. The print's subtitle states that more than 100 of Richmond's "most valuable Citizens lost their lives" that night. The scholar Meredith Henne Baker has estimated the death toll to be at least 76, probably more. Most of the victims were upper-class women and girls. Among the prominent citizens killed was George William Smith, the newly elected governor of Virginia.