Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

End of the Fairy Tale

Adapted from an article published as Exhibition Review | STAGES AND SCENES on Rogues and Vagabonds Theatre Website in 2008, with permission of Sarah Vernon

Pippa Rathborne's SCRATCH POST

There was a torture chamber hidden under the fairytale palaces, those vanishing flower-garlanded places where laughing, well-fed putti carry on playing long after the people, surfeited on Rococo, have died or fled.

Apollo with the Graces and Muses painted for the ceiling of the Théâtre de la reine, at Trianon,Versailles,
by Jean-Jacques Lagrenée, 1779. Image source: Wikipedia

The restrained imagery of the later Stuart monarchy reflected the bloodless 1688 revolution in political realities. Baroque was sobered down, mannered. Its architecture was perceived as heavy and florid, and was already going out of fashion by the time its last great palace, Blenheim, was finished in 1716, to complaints from the owner, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, about the impracticalities of the design. The architect, John Vanbrugh, whose other most famous building is the fairy tale Castle Howard, a fantastical stage set on the Yorkshire moors, was also a dramatist, author of two…

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