The Woodland Scene (theatre scenery)

Contributed by The Georgian Theatre Royal Richmond North Yorks

The Woodland Scene (theatre scenery)

The Georgian Theatre (the UK's oldest working theatre in its original form, built 1788) holds, in its display area, the oldest known theatrical scenery still in existence: the Woodland Scene. The scenery comprises 8 wooden wing flats 9ft 6ins by 3ft 6ins, 5 canvas borders and a Forest back-drop scene 13ft 1in by 10ft 2ins. All trees in the scene can be identified as specific types. On the back is painted a Blue Drawing Room, with Fire, showing a period fireplace, skirting board and panelling and a picture frame over the fireplace.
The Woodland scenery was only part of a stock of 5 different scenery pieces which had been in the Hinkins family as far back as 1820. It was painted at a scene painting shop in Royston, Hertfordshire, (previously Cambridgeshire) which was set up in 1811 by a former travelling actor - George Rivers Higgins. How and why the Woodland Scene became detached from the other pieces of Hinkins scenery is not known but it was Richard Southern (a theatre architecture historian instrumental in uncovering the history of the Georgian Theatre in Richmond, North Yorks) who arranged its transfer into the care of the Theatre trustees in 1961.

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Location

Royston, Hertfordshire

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