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FROM THE ARCHIVE 12th November 2014

Created with a vintage lady from The Graphics Fairy and overlays from my texture collection.

Dance, Little Lady

‘Tho’ you’re only seventeen,
Far too much of life you’ve seen,
Syncopated child.
Mayb…

Source: First Night Design | Syncopated Lady

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This is an adaptation of an original 1890s Criterion Theatre programme in my collection. I confess to being potty about it. The original image is the central strip which I copied, pasted and extended to form a background so that it was a classic card-shaped design. The Art Nouveau shapes and swirls are a treat and enable one to breathe in the theatrical atmosphere of late 19th century London.

The Criterion Theatre in September 2007 [Wikipedia]

The Criterion Theatre in September 2007 [Wikipedia]

This small, Grade II* listed theatre in Piccadilly Circus — it has an official capacity of 588 — opened on the site of an old hunting inn, the White Bear, in 1874. It has played host to some notable performances and productions, not least Charles Wyndham as David Garrick (1888),  John Gielgud in Musical Chairs (1932), Terence Rattigan’s French Without Tears (1936-1939), Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (1955), which transferred from the Arts Theatre with Peter Woodthorpe, Hugh Burden, Timothy Bateson, and Peter Bull, and Joe Orton’s Loot (1966) with Michael Bates and Kenneth Cranham.

Did you know that one has been able to hear the underground rumble of Piccadilly Line trains since 1906 when the station and line originally opened? It gives productions a certain something! To read more about the Criterion’s history, click here.

I’ve just discovered that John Gielgud’s performance in the above-mentioned Musical Chairs was criticised by Noël Coward. Gielgud wrote to him thus:

To Noël Coward

May 1932, London

Thank you very much for writing as you did. I was very upset at the time, because as you know I had always admired you and your work so very much and also because in a way I have always thought my success in the theatre only began after the Vortex time – this play was my own discovery and I had much to do with the casting and getting it produced, so naturally I was very anxious you of all people should like it. But you are quite right, of course. I act very badly in it sometimes, more especially I think when I know people who matter are in front. And such a small theatre as the Criterion is difficult for me, who am used to the wastes of the Old Vic and His Majesty’s. If I play down, they write and say I’m inaudible and if I act too much, the effect is dire. Now and again one can strike the happy mien and give a good performance. But then, it is no use trying to excuse oneself. I played ever so much better today after reading your letter, and I am really glad when I get honest criticism, though sometimes it’s a bit hard to decide whom to listen to and whom to ignore…
[Daily Telegraph – Gielgud’s Letters, introduced and edited by Richard Mangan, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson]

And here are Sir Charles Wyndham (1837-1919) as Garrick and Miss Mary Moore aka Lady Wyndham (1861-1931) as Ada Ingot in David Garrick at the Criterion Theatre in 1886, which is available as a greeting card.

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Portrait for Noël Coward's last Christmas Card

Portrait for Noël Coward’s last Christmas Card

“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” Blithe Spirit, Noël Coward

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Theatrical Attitude © Sarah Vernon

Theatrical Attitude © Sarah Vernon

This enchantress  was the famous late 19th and early 20th century actress and singer Miss Marie Tempest [1864-1942], who is referred to in the description on the back of my original print as ‘the prima donna of the English stage’ and possessing ‘a very beautiful voice which has had the training it deserves’.

I imagined a faded portrait in a frame that has suffered neglect and fire damage with a hint of gold breaking through. Naturally, I imagined no such thing but this is what came out when I faffed around in Photoshop with a couple of textures from 2 Lil’ Owls: 2LO Confetti 6 (Normal), 2LO – Crackle 11 (Multiply).

Theatrical aficionados might be interested to learn that the actress was the original Judith Bliss in Noël Coward’s Hay Fever. She was made a Dame in  1937.


“Hitler has taken nearly everything from me but my life, but you can’t live on regret. You’ve got to live for the present and future, not the past.”
She was forced to sell her art collection after losing her home in a German air raid during WWII. IMDb


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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Reblogged for World Elephant Day @wrldelephantday.

First Night Design

Elephants Learning © First Night Design Elephants Learning © First Night Design

This is a photograph from Wikimedia of elephants learning how to handle logs which I altered with a free texture from Denise Love of 2 Lil’ Owls who recently set up the Facebook group, Texture Artists, where you will find said freebie.

Ever since I mentioned elephants on here, I have worked on three different pieces. None of them were turning out as I envisaged – very frustrating – until, that is, I replaced the texture I had used for Elephants Learning with the free one. I do hope you like it.

The fact that the men are wearing solar topees — I’m not entirely certain they are, but I like to think so — puts me in mind of Noël Coward’s line in ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen: ‘…because the simple creatures hope he will impale his solar topee on the tree.’  Not, of course, that the men above would ever be…

View original post 10 more words


Sinking beneath the waves as I try to catch up. I hope you enjoy the reposting of Those Were the Days,
Take care and keep laughing!
Sarah

First Night Design

The CaféŽ Royal, London by William Orpen (1912) © First Night Vintage—Available as Posters, Cards, and Prints

The Café Ž Royal, London by William Orpen (1912) © First Night Vintage—Available as Posters, Cards, and Prints

There were many disadvantages to living in the early years of the 20th century, not least the coming of the ‘War to End All Wars’, which was anything but. Nevertheless, I can’t help dreaming of swanning around in an Edwardian frock or a Twenties flapper dress and the wherewithal to enjoy the delights of London theatre, fine dining and exquisite conversation. My recent post, Café Royal Rose, set me on a journey. But before I could do but a soupçon of research, I was stopped short by finding a copy of William Orpen’s painting on Wikimedia.

I could not pass by without downloading it and working magic with my resizing software (OnOne) to be able to sell it on First Night Vintage. I don’t think any regular followers will be…

View original post 256 more words


Created with a vintage lady from The Graphics Fairy and overlays from my texture collection.

Dance, Little Lady

‘Tho’ you’re only seventeen,
Far too much of life you’ve seen,
Syncopated child.
Maybe if you only knew
Where your path is leading to
You’d become less wild
But I know it’s vain
Trying to explain
While there’s this insane
Music in your brain

Dance, dance, dance little lady
Youth is pleasing to the rhythm
Beating in your mind
Dance, dance, dance little lady
So obsessed with second best
No rest you’ll ever find
Time and tide and trouble
Never, never wait
Let the cauldron bubble
Justify your fate
Dance, dance, dance little lady
Dance, dance, dance little lady
Leave tomorrow behind.

Time and tide and trouble
Never, never wait
Let the cauldron bubble
Justify your fate
Dance, dance, dance little lady
Dance, dance, dance little lady
Leave tomorrow behind.

—Noël Coward, from This Year of Grace, his musical revue from 1928. And below is the man himself singing the number.

Available to buy @
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


The CaféŽ Royal, London by William Orpen (1912) © First Night Vintage—Available as Posters, Cards, and Prints

The Café Ž Royal, London by William Orpen (1912) © First Night Vintage—Available as Posters, Cards, and Prints

There were many disadvantages to living in the early years of the 20th century, not least the coming of the ‘War to End All Wars’, which was anything but. Nevertheless, I can’t help dreaming of swanning around in an Edwardian frock or a Twenties flapper dress and the wherewithal to enjoy the delights of London theatre, fine dining and exquisite conversation. My recent post, Café Royal Rose, set me on a journey. But before I could do but a soupçon of research, I was stopped short by finding a copy of William Orpen’s painting on Wikimedia.

I could not pass by without downloading it and working magic with my resizing software (OnOne) to be able to sell it on First Night Vintage. I don’t think any regular followers will be in the least surprised!

The Café’s official site states that in ‘1863, a French wine merchant called Daniel Nicholas Thévenon and his wife Celestine arrived in England in a bid to escape the clutches of creditors in Paris’.

Cafe Royal in 2008 before its recent refurbishment [Wikimedia}
Cafe Royal in 2008 before its refurbishment [Wikimedia]

Those creditors’ losses were London’s gain for the couple created a fine establishment that acquired an enviable reputation with a wine cellar admired the world over and which introduced London to French cuisineCafé Royal’s survival to this day is proof of its legendary status.

Augustus John on board ship [Wikimedia]
Augustus John on board ship [Wikimedia]

Oh, the joy I would have had mixing with the likes of Augustus John (‘The King of Bohemia’) or D H Lawrence, Virginia Woolf or Noël Coward, or even Walter Sickert — very heaven.  Earlier still and I might have been able to dine on the wit of Oscar Wilde. That is, of course, if any of them had been gracious enough to include me in their gatherings. Reputation suggests that Augustus John would have taken me to his bosom and possibly literally! My mother nearly had one such encounter.  In her memoir, she writes about her disappointment at my grandmother’s refusal to let her sit for the artist as he had requested.

Walter Sickert by George Beresford in 1911 [Wikimedia]
Walter Sickert by George Beresford in 1911 [Wikimedia]

Related articles

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Elephants Learning © First Night Design

Elephants Learning © First Night Design

This is a photograph from Wikimedia of elephants learning how to handle logs which I altered with a free texture from Denise Love of 2 Lil’ Owls who recently set up the Facebook group, Texture Artists, where you will find said freebie.

Ever since I mentioned elephants on here, I have worked on three different pieces. None of them were turning out as I envisaged – very frustrating – until, that is, I replaced the texture I had used for Elephants Learning with the free one. I do hope you like it.

The fact that the men are wearing solar topees — I’m not entirely certain they are, but I like to think so — puts me in mind of Noël Coward’s line in ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen: ‘…because the simple creatures hope he will impale his solar topee on the tree.’  Not, of course, that the men above would ever be as stupid as an Englishman!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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