Theatre poster for Oswald Allan's pantomine A Frog He Would a-Wooing Go
Marylebone Theatre, London
24 December, 1875
Printed by Williams & Strahan
Woodcut and letterpress
Museum no. S.598-1996
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
This poster advertised the pantomime at the Marylebone Theatre for Christmas 1875, a version of The Sleeping Beauty. Like most Victorian pantomimes, it featured Harlequin and Columbine and had the full title A Frog He Would a-Wooing Go, or, Harlequin Sleeping Beauty and the Wicked Demons of the Mystic Pool. Victorians loved long and complicated names for pantomimes - the longer the title, the more fun it seemed to promise. In contrast to the elaborate name of the pantomime, the poster is remarkably simple and striking. It features a large picture of a frog flunkey, with a letter addressed to King Frog. It was produced by a woodcut - an image laboriously cut out from a block of wood, which was printed in black ink and then coloured by hand. It doesn't seem surprising to us today because we are so used to large, coloured images, but for its time, this was unusual and expensive publicity.