Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Scenic Design- 1901

Scenic designers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries painted large frames by hand to produce amazing artistic backdrops.

Jack Ricketts, (Scenic Designer) saved the picture below which shows him and a fellow designer painting the act drop of the Criterion Theatre in 1901 for a Josephine Stanton production.

Jack wrote;

This sketch shows the painting frame of the late Criterion Theatre and depicts the writer and William Diamond of New Zealand at work on the scenery for the opening of the Josephine Stanton Company. This drawing, which was presented to the writer by the artist will give readers of this article an idea of the work room of the professional scenic painter.

Unlike England where scenic designers worked in their own work rooms, in Australia, the scenic designers worked in special areas in the theatre. The backdrops were painted by hand in sections and lowered on a winch to the stage. It was painstaking and demanding work.

The picture above was drawn by C Gordon Stanhope.

More on Scenic designers here

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