Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary
Fol. 8v (Greg, I.16)
Res at buckingam the 30 of desembʒ 1593 ………. ljs Res at buckingam the 1 of Jenewary 1593 ………. lviijs Res at buckingam the 10 of Jenewarye 1593 ………. xxijs Res at buckengam the 27 of Jenewarye 1593 ………. xviijs
"Buckingham" was performed by Sussex's players at the Rose throughout their run, which began on 27 December 1593 and ended 6 February 1594. The play was apparently old (Henslowe did not mark it with his enigmatic "ne"), but it received excellent receipts averaging 37s. to Henslowe across its four performances.
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
It is reasonable to assume that the play relied on standard English chronicles for its narrative, but it is still uncertain which of the possible noblemen with the title of Buckingham the play featured.
References to the Play
Fleay, BCED did not hazard a guess as to the nobleman featured in this play.
Chambers, ES (2.95, 130, 202, 217) suggested two candidates: the second Duke of Buckingham, favourite and victim of Richard III, and the third Duke, Henry VIII's favourite until his execution in 1521 for opposing Wolsey. The third Duke features as a character in Shakespeare and Fletcher's Henry VIII.
Greg II assumed that the duke was "Richard III's Buckingham" (#30, p. 158). He pointed out that Richard's "Buckingham" appeared not only in Shakespeare's Richard III but also the similarly named play owned by the Queen's men, The True Tragedy of Richard III.
Knutson, also assuming that "Buckingham" featured Richard III's henchman, calls attention to the cluster of plays from the historical time of the Wars of the Roses that in repertorial time were in performance from 1590 to 1594 (48). Being more specific about repertorial competition, she calls "Buckingham: a "possible spin-off" and notes that it was probably in performance by Sussex's men when Shakespeare's Richard III was new (70).
Egan offers a different identification for the Buckingham of "Buckingham": Thomas of Woodstock, one of whose titles was the Earl of Buckingham (I.92).
Wiggins, Catalogue #931 notes the number of Dukes of Buckingham that might qualify (those mentioned above but also the duke featured in the Henry VI trilogy), as well as the town of Buckingham.
For What It's Worth
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 13 August 2012.