Saturday, December 01, 2007

Trompe l'oeil

Being a novice in toy theatre, I was thinking in response to another missive from Tony I received yesterday, that an argument could be made that toy theatre sheets - specifically backgrounds - are, at their best, a form of this...
I thought your readers might also be interested in the following: Apart from making model theatres I'm also a working theatrical scene painter. Part of a scene painter's training is in the theatrical illusion of trompe l'oeil which for four hundred and fifty years dominated stage design and interior decoration. It isn't used much in theatre anymore but lives on mainly in mural painting. In reverence to this art I started painting illusionistic pictures to hang on walls or use as firescreens. The subject range is quite wide but also includes some theatrical pieces. They use the classic formula of light and shade and cast shadows along with perspective. They have cut profiled edges which helps the illusion. The source of the Harlequin and Columbine characters are the illustrations of William West who is credited with the invention of 'pennny plain. tuppence coloured'. Here, I've given them a Commedia del Arte spin which is , of course, their origin.
Tony also mentioned that he's working on a website of his own, and hopes to get it online soon; I shall post the news as soon as I hear...