Not currently on display at the V&A

Patience

Set Design
1956 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Patience, or, Bunthorne’s Bride by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan was produced at the Opera Comique Theatre under the management of Richard D’Oyly Carte on Saturday 23rd April 1881, and transferred to the Savoy Theatre on Monday 10th October 1881 until Thursday 23rd November 1882.

By 1880 Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas were a success on both sides of the Atlantic. Realising the limitations of the old-fashioned Opera Comique Theatre, and the public’s undiminished appetite for these profitable comic operas, Carte planned a new theatre for them in London’s Strand. Gilbert started a libretto based on The Rival Curates, his 1867 Bab Ballad concerning two clergymen of neighbouring parishes vying with each other for meekness. Concerned about church reaction however, he turned his satire on Oscar Wilde and Aestheticism, changing the Reverends Clayton Hooper and Hopley Porter into Reginald Bunthorne and Archibald Grosvenor, rival poets competing for the affections of the sensible milkmaid Patience, and the Aesthetic maidens who spurn the officers of the Thirty-Fifth Dragoon Guards. Patience opened at the Opera Comique and received even more critical acclaim in October on its transfer to Carte’s brilliant new theatre, complete with electric light. By sending Oscar Wilde on a North American lecture tour at the end of 1881, Carte helped assure its transatlantic success.

Peter Goffin (1906-1974) was born in Plymouth, the son of William Earl Goffin and Elizabeth Goffin and worked as an interior decorator and mural painter before designing for his local repertory theatre in Plymouth, and overseeing the staging, costumes and lighting of the Dance Drama group at Dartington Hall from 1931 to 1934. In 1936 Goffin worked at the Westminster Theatre as the designer on a wide variety of productions including T.S. Eliot’s The Reunion, and went on to work for Rupert D’Oyly Carte to redesign his new production of The Yeomen of the Guard in 1938.

For Rupert and later Bridget D'Oyly Carte, he designed new sets and costumes for Ruddigore, 1948, Patience, 1957, The Gondoliers, 1958, Trial By Jury, 1959, and HMS Pinafore and Iolanthe, 1961. He designed a new set for The Mikado, 1958, and created an interchangeable ‘unit set’ for the operas that the company toured. He wrote books on stage lighting and management and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1948.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pencil and watercolour on paper with annotation in black ink.
Brief Description
Set design showing two details from the set for a production of Patience, created by Peter Goffin, 1956
Physical Description
Set design showing two details from the set for a production of Patience, created by Peter Goffin, 1956
Credit line
Given by Dame Bridget D'Oyly Carte.

The V&A wishes to acknowledge the generous support given by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, which facilitated the cataloguing of the D’Oyly Carte Archive designs in 2015/16.
Summary
Patience, or, Bunthorne’s Bride by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan was produced at the Opera Comique Theatre under the management of Richard D’Oyly Carte on Saturday 23rd April 1881, and transferred to the Savoy Theatre on Monday 10th October 1881 until Thursday 23rd November 1882.



By 1880 Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas were a success on both sides of the Atlantic. Realising the limitations of the old-fashioned Opera Comique Theatre, and the public’s undiminished appetite for these profitable comic operas, Carte planned a new theatre for them in London’s Strand. Gilbert started a libretto based on The Rival Curates, his 1867 Bab Ballad concerning two clergymen of neighbouring parishes vying with each other for meekness. Concerned about church reaction however, he turned his satire on Oscar Wilde and Aestheticism, changing the Reverends Clayton Hooper and Hopley Porter into Reginald Bunthorne and Archibald Grosvenor, rival poets competing for the affections of the sensible milkmaid Patience, and the Aesthetic maidens who spurn the officers of the Thirty-Fifth Dragoon Guards. Patience opened at the Opera Comique and received even more critical acclaim in October on its transfer to Carte’s brilliant new theatre, complete with electric light. By sending Oscar Wilde on a North American lecture tour at the end of 1881, Carte helped assure its transatlantic success.



Peter Goffin (1906-1974) was born in Plymouth, the son of William Earl Goffin and Elizabeth Goffin and worked as an interior decorator and mural painter before designing for his local repertory theatre in Plymouth, and overseeing the staging, costumes and lighting of the Dance Drama group at Dartington Hall from 1931 to 1934. In 1936 Goffin worked at the Westminster Theatre as the designer on a wide variety of productions including T.S. Eliot’s The Reunion, and went on to work for Rupert D’Oyly Carte to redesign his new production of The Yeomen of the Guard in 1938.



For Rupert and later Bridget D'Oyly Carte, he designed new sets and costumes for Ruddigore, 1948, Patience, 1957, The Gondoliers, 1958, Trial By Jury, 1959, and HMS Pinafore and Iolanthe, 1961. He designed a new set for The Mikado, 1958, and created an interchangeable ‘unit set’ for the operas that the company toured. He wrote books on stage lighting and management and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1948.
Collection
Accession Number
S.4051-2015

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 23, 2016
Record URL