Boxes from the Palace Theatre of Varieties thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Theatre & Performance, Room 104

This object consists of 18 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Boxes from the Palace Theatre of Varieties

Theatre Box (Audience Space)
1903-1904 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

These lavishly-decorated theatre boxes once formed part of the auditorium of the Glasgow Palace Theatre of Varieties, between 1903 and 1977, before the building was demolished. These are two of the twelve boxes, on two levels that formed part of the largest theatre in Scotland. The sumptuous adornment was designed by Bertie Crewe, a pupil of Frank Matcham, the famous late 19th century theatrical architect.

When it opened, the Palace was the largest auditorium in Glasgow, and featured variety artists such as Fred Barnes, Marie Kendall and Harry Houdini, before the programme moved towards staging wrestling bouts and talking pictures. Variety performances ended after World War II, leading the theatre to become a picture house, before turning into a bingo hall in the 1960s. In October 1977 it was closed for the last time, after being declared structurally dangerous.

Crewe’s inspiration for the interiors came from the British Raj. The opening review, printed in the Glasgow Herald, 15 March 1904, described the design as “… pure Indian, a special feature being the box arcades supported by beautifully modelled Nautch girls considerably over life size, and over them are gorgeous Hindu pagodas, from which springs the elaborate dome and painted ceiling”.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 18 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Spandrels
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Architraves
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Capitals
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Capitals
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Spandrels
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Spandrels
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Column Figures
  • Columns (Architectural Elements)
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Column Figures
  • Columns (Architectural Elements)
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Spandrels
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Spandrels
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Spandrels
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Spandrels
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Capitals
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Capitals
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Plinths
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
  • Plinths
  • Boxes (Audience Spaces)
Materials and Techniques
Painted plasterwork, mounted on a timber and steel frame.
Brief Description
Boxes from the Palace Theatre of Varieties, Gorbals Street Glasgow, fibrous plaster, supports in the form of elephants, painted gold, designed by Bertie Crewe
Physical Description
Two gold painted theatre boxes, one above the other. Elaborate plasterwork, featuring elephant heads either side at the middle level, and Indian Nautch dancers at each side of the top level.
Dimensions
  • Height: 793cm
  • Width: 468cm
  • Depth: 38.5cm
Gallery Label
Box from the Palace Theatre of Varieties 1906 Boxes show what a social event theatre-going was. Their sideways position gives a poor view of the stage but a perfect view of the audience. It also gives the audience an excellent view of those in the box. The Palace Theatre of Varieties was one of Glasgow’s leading music-halls, but its fortunes declined alongside the artform it had been built to showcase. It was eventually demolished in 1977. Plaster and timber Designed by Bertie Crewe (died 1937) Given by City of Glasgow District Council Museum no. S.2804-1986
Credit line
Given by City of Glasgow District Council
Summary
These lavishly-decorated theatre boxes once formed part of the auditorium of the Glasgow Palace Theatre of Varieties, between 1903 and 1977, before the building was demolished. These are two of the twelve boxes, on two levels that formed part of the largest theatre in Scotland. The sumptuous adornment was designed by Bertie Crewe, a pupil of Frank Matcham, the famous late 19th century theatrical architect.



When it opened, the Palace was the largest auditorium in Glasgow, and featured variety artists such as Fred Barnes, Marie Kendall and Harry Houdini, before the programme moved towards staging wrestling bouts and talking pictures. Variety performances ended after World War II, leading the theatre to become a picture house, before turning into a bingo hall in the 1960s. In October 1977 it was closed for the last time, after being declared structurally dangerous.



Crewe’s inspiration for the interiors came from the British Raj. The opening review, printed in the Glasgow Herald, 15 March 1904, described the design as “… pure Indian, a special feature being the box arcades supported by beautifully modelled Nautch girls considerably over life size, and over them are gorgeous Hindu pagodas, from which springs the elaborate dome and painted ceiling”.
Collection
Accession Number
S.2804&A to R-1986

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record createdFebruary 8, 2008
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