Music sheet cover
Piano solo of a quadrille for Boucicault and Planché's musical drama 'Babil and Bijou'
Alfred Concanen (artist)
Published by Hopwood and Crew, printed by Stannard and Son
Royal Opera House, London
Museum no. S.149-2012
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
This image shows the underwater scene in Act III of the 'fantastic musical drama' Babil and Bijou, or, the Lost Regalia, when Babil and Bijou arrive in Octopalia and meet characters including King Cod, Salmon and Skate, Oyster, Captain Lobster, King Octopus and Walrus. The music sheet was for a piano solo of a quadrille, dance music arranged by the prolific musician Charles Coote and based on tunes from the production. Babil and Bijou, by Boucicault and Planche, was a fairytale spectacle that opened at Covent Garden Theatre in 1872. It relied heavily on special effects as Boucicault's biographer, Townsend Walsh, described: 'An army of men, women and children took part. There were dancers, comedians, pantomimists, Amazonian warriors and coryphees galore, together with a huge aquarium of pseudo oysters, crabs, cockles, seals, periwinkles, sea-lions, sea-horses, sharks, alligators, sword-fish, devil-fish and lobsters - scarlet boiled lobsters at that; at the bottom of the sea.' Although a success with audiences, Babil and Bijou never covered its huge costs and ended its six month run £11,000 in debt.