Preparing the Drury Lane Pantomime, Part 2, 1901

The following comes from a 1901 magazine article. Part 1 was published previously:

When a large model in papier-mâché is made, similar to those shown in the photograph, the plaster cast is necessarily a very heavy affair and takes several men to move it.

If an article is required the like of which is not to be found on the face of the earth—a grotesque and imaginative figure—then a rough design is first sketched on paper, and the model made from this. Pantomime articles are frequently treated in this way. Most plaster casts are kept in stock for future use.

Fitting Together. Photograph by The Press Studio.
Fitting Together. Photograph by The Press Studio.

In addition to the clay and papier-mâché modelling, there is a considerable amount of carpentering and, in the women’s department, needlework to be done. They also have to manipulate metal, and, upon the occasion of my visit to Drury Lane, I was shown an exact model of a Maxim. Everything was complete and full-size, the water-jacket being of brass. It was made workable, and the noise which the real weapon makes when in action was cleverly imitated by turning a small crank at the back.

The Women's Department. Photograph by The Press Studio.
The Women’s Department. Photograph by The Press Studio.

Many cunning devices are resorted to by the property-man. For instance, in making a basket of eggs, an ordinary wicker arrangement is fitted with a papier-mâché cover representing a pile of eggs. In this cover, however, spaces are left for the introduction of model eggs which can be taken from the bulk at the will of the carrier. This materially assists the illusion.

Trick musical instruments, too, are very effective. A man picks up a carrot on the stage, puts the end to his mouth, blows, and it is a whistle. The model of the carrot is built round the whistle, holes being allowed for notes and mouthpiece. The painting, however, masks these from the eyes of the audience.

“Preparing the Drury Lane Pantomime.” Illustrated London News and Sketch 25 Dec. 1901: 372. Google Books. Web. 11 Apr. 2017. <https://books.google.com/books?id=I5hRAAAAYAAJ>.

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