London Music Hall, 1918
Everett Shinn (American, 1876–1953)
Oil on canvas; 10 x 12 in. (25.4 x 30.5 cm)
George A. Hearn Fund, 1921 (21.39)
Shinn's theater scenes usually featured singers, dancers, and acrobats. London Music Hall is one of his rare images of a comic performance, like the ones he himself wrote and staged in the small theater he constructed behind his home on Waverly Place in New York's Greenwich Village. Emulating, as usual, compositions by Edgar Degas, Shinn shows both the musicians in the orchestra pit and the act on stage. Bowing at the center of the stage is a lion comique, a stock character in London's music halls. The lion comique was the British counterpart of American vaudeville comedians who amused working- and middle-class audiences by caricaturing the pretensions of lazy, hedonistic upper-class dandies.