Poster for the opera 'Patience' for The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
Princess Theatre, London
Designed by Henry Matthew Brock (1875-1960)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The D'Oyly Carte Company produced eye-catching posters because the entrepreneur Richard D'Oyly Carte knew the value of good publicity. After his death in 1901, his son Rupert took over the management of the company and continued the tradition. This poster for the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Patience was produced during Rupert D'Oyly Carte's management. Because the company toured extensively it was printed without any theatre name so it could be used in any town with the name of the local theatre overposted. This poster was designed by the illustrator H.M. Brock, much of whose considerable work was for children's fiction. He also provided illustrations for D'Oyly Carte's theatre programmes. In this poster he concentrates on an image of the sham aesthete Reginald Bunthorne gazing at a lily, in turn being adored by two maidens of his love-sick retinue, one of whom is dressed in a sunflower-print dress. The lily and the sunflower were two flowers much admired by the aesthetic movement.