Henry Lytton

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The Secrets of a Savoyard

Born 3rd January 1865     Died  15th August 1936


Henry A Lytton's autobiography provides an excellent insight into the D'Oyly Carte and life on stage during those years.

After a short introduction with lots of anecdotes about his school life, Henry meets the love of his life Miss Louie Henri.   They were married in 1883, whilst Henry was still at school!  He was expelled as a result and he went along to the Savoy where they were producing Princess Ida.  Louie had obtained a job in the chorus and had persuaded  Mr Carte to give Henry an audition. As most theatre managers frowned upon married couples, he pretended to be her brother.  Henry A Henri???  He was engaged for the chorus on the Princess Ida tour. This was followed by much "resting" and several other productions - including more touring for the D'Oyly Carte.

His big break came when he was appointed as understudy to George Grossmith as Robin Oakapple in the first production of Ruddigore at the Savoy.


 Grossmith was taken ill after just the first few days and Henry went on to be a hit in the part.  Gilbert was so impressed that he sent him a gold mounted walking stick.

Henry went on to all the "Grossmith roles" some of them are illustrated below:-




Henry has claimed, in his book, that he has played 30 different parts in G&S although this is not backed up by other evidence?

Trial by Jury - Judge, Counsel. Usher

The Sorcerer - Hercules, Dr.Daly, Sir Marmaduke,  John Wellington Wells

HMS Pinafore - Dick Deadeye, Captain Corcoran, Sir Joseph Porter

The Pirates of Penzance - Samuel, Pirate King, Major General Stanley

Patience - Grosvenor, Bunthorne

Iolanthe - Strephon, Lord Mountararat, Lord Chancellor

Princess Ida - Florian, King Gamma

The Mikado - Mikado, Koko

Ruddigore - Robin Oakapple

The Yeomen of the Guard - Lieutenant of the Tower, Shadbolt. Jack Point.

The Gondoliers - Guiseppe, The Duke of Plaza-Toro

Utopia Limited - The King

The Grand Duke - The Duke


Henry was knighted in 1930 for his services to Gilbert and Sullivan