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Long Day's Journey Into Night

  • Object:

    Set model

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1971 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Annals, Michael, born 1938 - died 1990 (theatre designers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour, gouache, metal, cane, lace, composite, card and wood

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Jason Barnes

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, Room 104, case 20

Set model by Michael Annals for Eugene O'Neill's play Long Day's Journey into Night, National Theatre Company, New Theatre (now the Noel Coward Theatre), 1971.

Michael Annals (1938-1990) trained at Hornsey College of Art and began his career designing sets and costumes for the Old Vic. In 1963 the newly formed National Theatre Company moved into the Old Vic and Annals joined them, having his first major success with his designs for Peter Shaffer's historical epic, The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964). He went on to have an international career, designing for the theatre and for ballet, opera and film, but is most closely associated with the National Theatre, where he worked until the 1970s. In 1971 he created a notable setting for the National's production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, which starred Laurence Olivier and was directed by Michael Blakemore. This began a working relationship with Blakemore which lasted for 12 years. Annals frequently worked in the United States and was Associate Professor of Scenic Design at Yale in 1966-1967. In 1984 he gave up the stage and took up photography and illustration.

As he demonstrated in The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Annals's designs could be highly imaginative and emblematic but the greater part of his work showed his ability to represent reality in theatrical terms. His set model for Long Day's Journey's into Night shows the 'Living Room of James Tyrone's summer home' in 1912. Eugene O'Neill based the Tyrones on his own family, with James Tyrone, the retired actor who never fulfilled his potential, being a portrait of O'Neill's father. A naturalistic setting was required and, as no scene changes are necessary, the set could be substantial and detailed. Annals found that the stage directions, which specified two sets of doors on each side of the stage, fitted oddly with the action of the play and re-arranged the layout of the room. After the play opened in America, Annals visited the O'Neill family home in Connecticut and discovered that his design faithfully mirrored the real house.

Physical description

Set model by Michael Annals for Long Day's Journey into Night. Model of a room, the walls set at angles, a row of windows to each side and a door to left at the rear. The walls painted light brown, the coving, door and window frames in dark brown. From the ceiling a 'brass' chandelier. A circular table with a tablecloth modelled from composite at centre, a cane chair to left and a wooden chair to right. Beneath the windows, to right, a cane settee and against the wall, to right of the windows, a desk with a bookcase above. Behind the windows to right, a veranda and behind that a curving cyclorama of card painted with a turquoise sky and a slender tree.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1971 (made)


Annals, Michael, born 1938 - died 1990 (theatre designers)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour, gouache, metal, cane, lace, composite, card and wood


Height: 64 cm, Width: 78 cm, Depth: 62 cm

Descriptive line

Set model by Michael Annals for Eugene O'Neill's play Long Day's Journey Into Night, National Theatre Company, New Theatre, December 1971

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Arnold Wengrow, Observe and show: the theatre art of Michael Annals (London: V&A Publications)


Watercolour; Gouache; Metal; Cane (plant material); Lace; Composition (material); Card; Wood


Model-making; Painting


Entertainment & Leisure; Designs; Theatre


Theatre and Performance Collection

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