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Yeomen of the Guard

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1890s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hardy, Dudley, born 1867 - died 1922 (artist)
    Waterlow & Sons Ltd (lithographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    colour lithography

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Norman B. Stone

  • Museum number:

    E.3303-1932

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case WS

Subjects Depicted

Richard D’Oyly Carte employed Dudley Hardy to design posters for his theatre productions at the Savoy Theatre. This poster design was for the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Yoemen of the Guard, playing at the Savoy in 1897. Poster magazine of 1899, while praising the vibrant colour scheme, suggested that the executioner was a little too macabre for a comic opera.

People

Dudley Hardy made his name originally as a painter and illustrator. His bold venture into poster design in the 1890s gave him scope for all sorts of unconventional ideas. Although he was influenced by designers of the French 'artistic' poster, such as Jules Cheret, he developed a characteristically English approach with his simplified style and integrated lettering. After his initial success with a poster nicknamed 'The Yellow Girl', advertising the To-Day magazine, many of his earliest posters were commissioned for theatrical productions by the well-known firm of publishers Waterlow & Sons.

Design & Designing

Poster magazine praised the clarity of outline and colour schemes in Hardy’s work and described him as a pioneer of the 'artistic' poster. Hardy gave his views on design in an interview with the same magazine in December 1899: 'both from the artistic and commercial point of view, [posters] should be as simple and striking as possibly; very little background, very little detail, a bold, striking line which will arrest the eye of the passer-by.'

Physical description

'The Yeomen Of The Guard'. Colour lithograph poster advertising a production of the comic opera by W. S. Gilbert and A. Sullivan by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. The design shows an executioner dressed in black, holding an axe which he rests on a block. Behind are blocks of colour, the lower half in green representing grass and a crenellated castle wall, and above a large red sun descending behind the wall against a yellow sky. Signed 'Dudley Hardy'.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1890s (made)

Artist/maker

Hardy, Dudley, born 1867 - died 1922 (artist)
Waterlow & Sons Ltd (lithographer)

Materials and Techniques

colour lithography

Marks and inscriptions

'D'OYLY CARTE'
In black across top.

'OPERA COMPANY'
In black across bottom.

'Dudley Hardy'
Signed on stone lower right

'BY / .W.S. GILBERT / AMD .ARTHUR SULLIVAN.'
Upper left corner.

'WATERLOW & SONS LD. LITH. LONDON WALL LONDON.'
Lower right.

'COPYRIGHT REGD.'
Lower left.

Dimensions

Height: 74.3 cm, Width: 48.9 cm

Descriptive line

'The Yeomen Of The Guard'. Colour lithograph poster advertising a production of the comic opera by W. S. Gilbert and A. Sullivan by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. Designed by Dudley Hardy. London, England. 1890s.

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

The Poster, Vol. 2, December 1899.
Haill, Catherine. Theatre Posters. London, HMSO, 1983.
Summary Catalogue of British Posters to 1988 in the Victoria & Albert Museum in the Department of Design, Prints & Drawing. Emmett Publishing, 1990. 129 p. ISBN: 1 869934 12 1
Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1932. London: HMSO, 1933

Labels and date

British Galleries:

YEOMEN OF THE GUARD

1897

Dudley Hardy was a pioneer of poster design. He believed that a poster should be simple, with little background or detail, and a ‘bold, striking line’ to catch the eye. Poster magazine praised the vibrant colour scheme of this poster but suggested that the executioner was a little too grim for a comic opera.

Colour lithograph, inks on paper

Designed by Dudley Hardy (born in Sheffield, 1867, died in London, 1922); printed by Waterlow & Sons Ltd, London

Given by Norman B. Stone

Museum no. E.3303-1932 [12/2012]

Materials

Paper; Ink

Techniques

Colour lithography

Subjects depicted

Sun; Executioner; Axe; Castle wall; Theatre

Categories

Advertising; Prints; Entertainment & Leisure; Posters

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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