Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Postcards

The NSW Postcard Collectors Society fair is a source of many unusual and interesting theatre postcards.
For example, this lovely image of Ethel Haydon, a Victorian born singer/actress who married George Robey the famous English comedian after she started a career with George Edwardes in London.

I'm not sure, but I think this is the 'Little Cliff' who thrilled Tivoli audiences in 1906. However, he does seem a bit older than the advertised 4 years old.

This is Andrew Mack, the Irish American comedian/singer, who toured Australia in 1905. He liked it so much he returned in 1907.

But the most interesting find at the postcard fair today was this.

It's a handmade card dated 1917. The picture in the middle is a newspaper cutting.

The inscription says, "A Tribute in memory of your debut from The Knuts. 1917." The back of the card looks like this.

The handwriting says," From your stage assistant." The print identifies the card as being a souvenir from the , " National Committee of YMCAs on active service with the Australian Imperial Forces."

So is it a wartime joke? or a souvenir of a performance? It certainly is interesting.

The postcard fair always provides surprises!

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