Not currently on display at the V&A

Souvenir cutout of Derek Oldham as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore

Souvenir
1922 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker

Souvenir figures such as this became popular in the 1920s, apparently after a set representing dancers with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes Company were issued by Cyril Beaumont. He had the idea in about 1914 to produce them from artwork representing the dancers in costume, hoping they would: 'supply the demand for something between a photograph and a statuette'. A 1928 catalogue of Beaumont's publications notes: 'The figures, which are of wood, average 8¾ inches high, and are hand-coloured with special care to ensure accuracy of costume. The black stands on which the figures are mounted are easily removable to afford facility in packing. The figures are priced at 7s.6d. net.'

This figure of Derek Oldham is one of several representing singers in roles they played with D'Oyly Carte Opera Company productions in its 1919 to 1922 seasons at London's Princes Theatre. They were reproduced from photographs and would have been issued in 1922 by the Artograph Technical and Photographic Company, located at 16, Grape Street, New Oxford Street, behind the Princes Theatre.

The tenor Derek Oldham began his professional career in musical theatre in 1914 in The Daring of Diane at the London Pavilion before serving in the Scots Guards during the first World War. He joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in August 1919, appearing as Alexis in The Sorcerer, Earl Tolloller in Iolanthe, Cyril in Pricess Ida, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Marco in The Gondoliers in his first season. In 1920 he added the roles of Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, and Richard Dauntless in HMS Pinafore. in 1921 he swapped Cyril for Prince Hilarion in Princess Ida. He left to go into musical comedy in the summer of 1922, becoming a lead singer-actor at Drury Lane and other West End theatres throughout the 1920s. He returned to the D'Oyly Carte for seasons in the late 1920s and 1930s and appeared on nineteen full and abridged HMV recordings of the operas.









Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Souvenirs
  • Figures
  • Cutouts
  • Souvenirs
  • Figures
  • Cutouts
TitleSouvenir cutout of Derek Oldham as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore (generic title)
Materials and techniques
Photographic paper on plywood
Brief description
Souvenir plywood cutout figure with wooden stand of Derek Oldham (1887-1968) as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan with the D'Oyly Carte Company during their 1920-1921 season at the Princes Theatre London. Produced by the Artograph Company, 1922.
Physical description
S.1068:1-2021
Plywood cutout figure mounted with a photographic image of Derek Oldham as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore

S.1068:2-2021
Wooden base for the figure
Dimensions
  • Height: 20.2cm (maximum height of figure)
  • Width: 7.5cm (maximum width of figure)
  • Depth: 0.3cm (depth of figure)
  • Height: 0.4cm (height of base)
  • Width: 10.10cm (width of base)
  • Depth: 3.0cm (depth of base)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Peter Parker
Object history
This cutout figure, one of thirteen similar items in this bequest, was inherited by Peter Parker, along with a quantity of other objects related to the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, from his father Stanley H. Parker (d.1960). Stanley Parker was employed by the Savoy Hotel as a junior clerk in May 1909, straight from school. From that job, on the death of Helen D'Oyly Carte in 1913, he was appointed by Rupert D'Oyly Carte to understudy George A. Richardson who managed the theatre from November 1911 to February 1915. In 1913 Stanley H. Parker became Rupert and (later) Bridget D'Oyly Carte's private secretary, also secretary of both the Savoy Theatre Ltd., and the Opera Company. He worked for the company for 51 years, until his death in 1960.

This was subsequently part of Peter Parker's bequest to the V&A.
Summary
Souvenir figures such as this became popular in the 1920s, apparently after a set representing dancers with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes Company were issued by Cyril Beaumont. He had the idea in about 1914 to produce them from artwork representing the dancers in costume, hoping they would: 'supply the demand for something between a photograph and a statuette'. A 1928 catalogue of Beaumont's publications notes: 'The figures, which are of wood, average 8¾ inches high, and are hand-coloured with special care to ensure accuracy of costume. The black stands on which the figures are mounted are easily removable to afford facility in packing. The figures are priced at 7s.6d. net.'

This figure of Derek Oldham is one of several representing singers in roles they played with D'Oyly Carte Opera Company productions in its 1919 to 1922 seasons at London's Princes Theatre. They were reproduced from photographs and would have been issued in 1922 by the Artograph Technical and Photographic Company, located at 16, Grape Street, New Oxford Street, behind the Princes Theatre.

The tenor Derek Oldham began his professional career in musical theatre in 1914 in The Daring of Diane at the London Pavilion before serving in the Scots Guards during the first World War. He joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in August 1919, appearing as Alexis in The Sorcerer, Earl Tolloller in Iolanthe, Cyril in Pricess Ida, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Marco in The Gondoliers in his first season. In 1920 he added the roles of Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, and Richard Dauntless in HMS Pinafore. in 1921 he swapped Cyril for Prince Hilarion in Princess Ida. He left to go into musical comedy in the summer of 1922, becoming a lead singer-actor at Drury Lane and other West End theatres throughout the 1920s. He returned to the D'Oyly Carte for seasons in the late 1920s and 1930s and appeared on nineteen full and abridged HMV recordings of the operas.







Collection
Accession number
S.1068:1 to 2-2021

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Record createdSeptember 6, 2021
Record URL
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