Installation of the cloths

Usually all the case building has to be completed before any objects are allowed in. However Diaghilev is an exception because there are two huge stage cloths which are so big they have to be installed first and the exhibition built around them The Firebird backcloth is 10x16m and probably the largest object in the V&A. It is exciting to see them being carefully unrolled and raised into position by the V&A’s skilled technicians and conservators.

The press have been invited in to photograph. As always it is Prince Schervashidze’s copy of Picasso’s Two Women Running on the Beach, created as a frontcloth for the 1924 Ballets Russes season which coincided with the Paris Olympics, which attracts all the attention. The backcloth for the final scene of The Firebird by Natalia Goncharova, hung back to back, attracts less interest at this stage. Picasso is still the name that attracts the picture editors – as is proved this morning with a double page spread in The Guardian and photos in The Telegraph, Independent and Mail.

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