Friday, August 14, 2015

The Famous Spiegeltent

The Famous Spiegeltent is in town. 'Spiegel' is the Dutch/Flemish word for mirror because they are lined with mirrors - the tent of mirrors. Emerging in Belgium in the early 20th century they acted as traveling dance-halls, pubs, and entertainment salons and now there are only a handful left in the world.

The staff kindly let us past the barrier to sketch this 1920 version here for the Taranaki Arts Festival, the band was warming up inside. Once you started drawing you discovered various risque pictures of a burlesque nature. This one is built of 3000 pieces of wood, mirrors, canvas, and leaded glass then decorated in velvet and brocade, it takes 12 hours to assemble. Apparently Marlene Dietrich performed in this tent back in the 1930's. It can hold 300+ people, so looks slightly Tardis-like.

This one has been in New Plymouth several times before. When it was here in 2009 the barmaid approached us as we sketched the band, and asked if we would draw her.

I was keen to try out my then-new Wacom tablet, so finished it off at home.  Not my usual style.


The previous week the Deputy Head of New Plymouth Boys' High School kindly let us in to Pridham Hall. The rain hosed down outside, but it was perfect peace within. The Harry Potterish Free Edwardian style combines Elizabethan and Jacobean influences.  Our son happily served his time here.

Ernest Pridham was the Headmaster from 1881 - 1911

1 comment:

  1. The Spiegeltent is awesome - have enjoyed many performances in there over the years.