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Artist: Dudley Hardy English (1866-1922)

Item: RP.20a

Title: The Yeoman of the Guard
Description: Condition A-
Original vintage poster, backed on Linen
Printed by David Allen & Sons, London 1907
Size: 20 in x 30 in
  51 x 76 cm
Terms of Sale
Price: Sold

"This opera opened October 3, 1888, at the Savoy Theatre and ran for 423 performances. The Yeomen of the Guard was Gilbert and Sullivan's 11th collaboration, and the nearest they came to creating a 'Grand Opera'. It is the only one of their works that does not use satire.

Gilbert's plot was inspired by a poster he saw for the Tower Furnishing Company at Uxbridge train station. The poster featured a picture of the Tower of London, and set Gilbert to thinking about using the Tower as a location for the next Savoy opera. The opera has been performed four times in the moat of the actual Tower itself, allowing the use of the real executioner's bell at the appropriate moments.

The Plot The Yeomen of the Guard tells the story of Colonel Fairfax during the last days of his imprisonment in the Tower. He has been denounced as a sorcerer, and is facing execution within the hour. Sergeant Meryll, a Yeoman of the Guard, and his daughter Phoebe, both of whom wish to save Fairfax, lead the audience through plot full of cunning twists. The Music Many of the songs that Sullivan wrote for Yeomen would not feel out of place in a grand opera, while in the rest, Sullivan makes full use of a range of styles, from madrigal to folk song" (Wellington Gilbert & Sullivan Society)

"The prolific English artist Dudley Hardy is best known for his work for publications and the theatre, both as a illustrator and posterist. His work for commercial firms is considerably rarer. And yet his contribution to poster art is considerable: 'He really introduced the colour poster to England…His posters are strongly derivative of Cheret's. Like Cheret he appreciated the advertising value of sex-appeal, and his recurring subjects are legs, tutu's, frou-frous and legs again. The range of expression and antic is between a frisky insousance and a brassier glamour' (Hillier p.97)" (Rennert, PAI-XXIX, 397)

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