Monday, 10 December 2012

Carol Pictures & Nativity, Haslemere 1913, Part 1

The Times reported on Thurs 18 December, 1913 (p.6) about the Carol Pictures and Nativity Legend Scenes performed in the Hall of St George on Kings Road.

Haslemere Peasant Industries Christmas Card,
designed by Godfrey Blount
Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum

"Carol Pictures

Village Players at Haslemere (from a correspondent)

The first of four nightly performances of the annual series of Carol Pictures and Nativity Legend Scenes, given each December at Haslemere, took place last evening.  Since the idea of these Christmas Pictures was first inaugurated some six years ago by Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey Blount, the founders of the Haslemere Peasants’ Industries, the scheme of the programmes has developed considerably, but the simplicity which constitutes the charm and the value of these village plays is happily still most carefully preserved; and the atmosphere of the whole performance continues to be delightfully spontaneous and unsophisticated.  The performers are chiefly drawn from the children of Haslemere, and the adult workers in the local hand-spinning and weaving schools, where the textiles and stuffs used for the costumes are also for the most part obtained.  All theatrical artifice is avoided.  The blending of the colours in the Pictures leaves a general impression of the deep blues and purples and sombre greens and browns beloved by Mr. W.B. Yeats.

This year the Pictures are being produced in the little Hall of St. George, adjoining the “Country Church” in Foundry Meadow.  No scenery is employed, the only background for the whole series of scenes being a thick arras curtain, of a rich blue shade.  In the grouping and seating of the figures many of the quaint, realistic anomalies of medieval art have been resorted to and revived in modern guise.  For instance, in the pictures illustrated by the Carols “Children, come hither” and “Come to the Manger,” the children, led by the Nativity angel, are in ordinary everyday 20th century clothes, and carry cheap little modern playthings; and although this feature may be quite an unconscious one in Mr. Blount’s designs, it certainly helps his figures, and especially his children, to fall into perfectly natural poses.  When the story of each legend is not related by a prolocutor the connecting elucidatory Carols are sung by a small choir of women’s voices..."

Haslemere Peasant Industries Christmas Card,
designed by Godfrey Blount,
Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum

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