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Set design

Set design

  • Date:

    1967 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Stone, Alix, born 1913 - died 2010 (theatre designers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and red ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr Ray Ingram

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A theatrical gauze can be part of a set or used as a front curtain. It is a fabric 'scrim', painted with a scene or image summing up the production, which, when lit from one angle appears opaque, but when lit from another can be seen through.
This particular design was for a production of the opera A Penny for a Song, which takes place during the Napoleonic Wars, at a time when England was under threat of invasion. Thus the references include swords and spears, political pamphlets and the Imperial eagle, besides the more obvious figures of soldiers and Napoleon himself, easily identified by his characteristic hat.

Physical description

Long narrow strip of design and notes for a gauze in four sections. left to right: far left labelled Mrs Trapes's Gin House with sketches of pamphlets; second left the word "INVASION" surmounted by an eagle facing left crossed by spears and standards from the bottom of whcih hang dead figures. Second right: a sketchy figure with the words "Front Gauze / Penny for a Song / R. Rodney Bennett / Pillars & drainpipe".
Right a curtain on which soldiers, densely packed to the left on the diagonal with a row of drummers at the bottom; in the centre the figure of Napoleon above crossed standards and swords; the figures washed blue, red and yellow; labelled indicators point to "Napoleon" / "Guard" / "Grenadiers"


1967 (designed)


Stone, Alix, born 1913 - died 2010 (theatre designers)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and red ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

"INVASION / on Back"

Object history note

Sketch for the front gauze by Alix Stone for a production of Richard Rodney Bennett's opera "A Penny For A Song", performed by the Sadler's Wells Opera at Sadler's Wells, October 31st 1967. The libretto by Colin Graham is based on John Whiting's play of the same name. The production was directed by Colin Campbell; conducted by Bryan Balkwill; and lit by Charles Bristow. The production was revived at Sadler's Wells in January 1968.

Descriptive line

Sketch by Alix Stone for the front gauze in "A Penny For A Song", Sadler's Wells Opera at Sadler's Wells, 1967

Production Note

Reason For Production: Commission


Paper (fiber product); Pen and ink; Watercolour; Pencil

Production Type



Theatre and Performance Collection

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