Sunday, January 20, 2013
Sunday Inspirational Image: Pantomime Costumes 1890
Source: Victorian Era Fan Guide
Costume designs by William Charles Pitcher (also known as Wilhelm) for a production of the pantomime Dick Whittington which was performed at the Crystal Palace on 24th December 1890. Pantomime was a hugely popular form of entertainment throughout the Victorian period, especially during the Christmas season. Developing from the Italian Commedia dell’arte, pantomime combined drama, dance, singing, audience participation, slapstick and acrobatics with imaginative costumes, elaborate scenery and spectacular special effects. Pantomimes often included appearances by famous music hall performers of the day including Marie Lloyd and Dan Leno. Plots focused on traditional stories such as Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast as well as specially written topical productions. They reached the height of their popularity in the late 19th century with some having a running time of over 5 hours and a cast of 600 performers. Pantomime remains an essential part of the festive season in Britain.