Poster for D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's'Yeoman of the Guard
Savoy Theatre, London, 1897
Illustration by Dudley Hardy (1867-1922)
Printed by David Allen & Sons Ltd
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
This poster was designed by Dudley Hardy for the first revival of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard at the Savoy Theatre in 1897 and was used on its own or as part of an enormous hoarding poster for the D'Oyly Carte Company, along with his posters for The Mikado and The Gondoliers. Hardy trained as a painter, but he is best known as a poster artist. Unlike some artists who felt that poster design was an inferior branch of art, Hardy felt passionately that artists should not restrict their work to framed paintings and that poster artists had no better critical audience than the public who could see poster art on the streets. Hardy was influenced in his work by the great French poster artist Jules Cheret, whose posters he had seen in Paris. Some of Hardy’s work is as exuberant as Cheret’s, but this is altogether more sombre and striking an image, upholding his view that poster art should be as simple and striking as possible, with very little background or detail, ‘to arrest the eye of the passer-by’.