Romantic Stages

Set and Costume Design in Victorian England

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About the Book

Though Romantic elements in stage design are often thought to have ended with the advent of the Victorian era, they in fact persisted into the second half of the nineteenth century. Romantic stages were used in the productions of many of the most prominent actor-managers of the period, including Madame Vestris, Charles Kean, Wilson Barrett, Henry Irving and Herbert Beerbohm Tree.
This work shows how the emphasis placed on the visual elements of Victorian productions—the spectacular romantic settings and historically accurate costumes—revolutionized the position that stage designers held. They emerged from anonymity, becoming recognized and highly-praised collaborators in the creative process.

About the Author(s)

Alicia Finkel has designed sets and costumes for film, television and opera. She taught stage design and costume history at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Connecticut. Currently she is a trustee at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. She lives in Leland, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Alicia Finkel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 215
Bibliographic Info: photos, references, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1996]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2336-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1285-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      vii

Introduction      1

1. The First Romantics      3

2. Madame Vestris, James Robinson, Planché and William Beverley: Romanticism, Fantasy, and Spectacle      13

3. Charles Kean and His Designers: A Romance with History      29

4. Wilson Barrett and Edward William Godwin: Another Romantic View of History      61

5. Henry Irving: A Romantic Actor and His Set Designers      81

6. Romantic Swan Song      99

7. Romantic Fairies and Medieval Knights      107

Appendix A: On the Painting of Fairy Scenes and Other Stage Illusions      163

Appendix B: Brief Biographies      173

Notes      183

Select Bibliography      197

Index      383

Book Reviews & Awards

“thoroughly researched…excellent illustrations”—Choice; “intriguing…usefully illustrated…descriptions of individual costumes are detailed…provides insight into the recasting of set design as a legitimate art”—Victorian Studies; “serious…fascinating…information-packed…detailed…absorbing”—Theatre Crafts International.