Date of this Version
From 1816 onwards, London theatres began to install gas-lighting systems to replace candles. In addition to allowing theatre managers to adjust the level of illumination, gas lights offered greater brightness and visibility for the audience. Actors had to adjust to this new level of exposure that threatened their ability to ‘look the part.’ Until this illuminating moment, there had been little need for makeup and actors to adhere to the principles of physiognomy – a system that correlated character traits to facial features. Under the new harsh glare of the gas lights, both the faces of the actors and the theatres themselves were found wanting
©. (2006) This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
www.sciencedirect.com 0160-9327/$ – see front matter ©. 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.endeavour.2006.09.001
Pearl, S. (2006). Building Beauty: Physiognomy on the Gas-Lit Stage. Endeavour, 30 (3), 84-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.endeavour.2006.09.001
Date Posted: 27 March 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.