I’m back working on the illustration for the poster for Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta ‘Patience, or Bunthorne’s Bride.’ It will be performed June 14 and 15 by the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society. If you click on the image below you can see it a bit larger.
There are a lot of magnolia trees in bloom in Bucks County, PA, right now, so I photographed a few to use as reference. I wanted to frame this scene with the tree’s pink blossoms, and also added some mountain pinks and daffodils behind the bench. My experience illustrating for the W. Atlee Burpee Seed company’s flower and vegetable catalogs comes in handy.
The story of ‘Patience’ unfolds like a Monty Python sketch from the 19th c.:
Patience is the level-headed milkmaid who is not impressed by flowery words, and has never been in love; Reginald Bunthorne, the Victorian equivalent of Justin Bieber, is a highly sensitive, ode-spouting poet who is adored by the rest of the female population. Until his appearance, the village maidens had been enamored of the local regimental soldiers, called the Dragoon Guards – a bunch of manly men who couldn’t recite a couplet to save their moustaches. The guards now feel understandably put out that their girlfriends are fainting all over a fellow in a velvet suit whose main occupation is being imbued with things.
Complicating the polite lunacy of this village is the fact that Bunthorne is in love with Patience, the only woman in town who just can’t be bothered. Also, he’s a fake. He doesn’t even like poetry, he confesses to her, and he puts on aesthetic airs pretty much the same way PT Barnum put on circuses. Bunthorne’s appeals for her affections do no good, however, because Patience just isn’t feeling it.
She does recall one fond figure from her past, though, a childhood friend that she remembers as being the perfect little mate. More about that in the next post.