Dick Whittington

Fitzwarren’s shop.

Who would have thought that copying the lettering on a Georgian satirical etching would be of any practical use so soon. The freely hand-drawn italics and capitals from Darly’s Antique Architect were what I had in mind when I added the name to the sign over Alderman Fitzwarren’s shop for the London scene in this year’s Pageant Players’ pantomime, Dick Whittington.

Talking of lettering, a little tip: if you’re fitting lettering into a particular space, work out which is the middle letter and start with that.

In the case of the ‘Fitzwarren’s’  shop sign, I started at the halfway point above the Georgian bow-fronted window and painted the second half of the word – ‘arren’s’ – before working my way, in reverse order, through the first half: ‘Fitzw’. Just be careful not to smudge the lettering you’ve already added.

I was careful not to look at a photograph of the real St Paul’s Cathedral before I added a pantomime version of the familiar landmark on the right-hand side of the London back-drop.

Sadly, this will be the last pantomime with our producer Wendie Wilby at the helm, as she’s stepping down, and I’ve decided that it’s a good opportunity for me to call it a day, after fifty-one years painting scenery for them. It’s a shame because, as one of the younger members commented today, being in the Pageants’ is like being part of a family; she was referring to the mutual support that helps members make progress, from complete beginners to – in some cases – a career in show business.

That certainly refers to our team of scenic painters today as we more or less completed the desert scene after the lunch break.

As this is Wendie’s last production we’ve thrown everything at it: beach, palm trees and even a volcano.

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