Self-Portrait in Pierrot costume with Diogenes (History of The Harlequinade).

Fragment of The New Hoe Summer Theatre Mural

Theme: History of The Harlequinade 1580-1860

The New Hoe Summer Theatre was erected in June 1962, a prefabricated structure which replaced the marquee which had served Plymouth as a theatre since the 1950s. Lenkiewicz started work on 9-metre long mural there in 1970, which remained unfinished in 1976. He explained its subject matter as: "It is a history of the Harlequinade from about 1580 to about 1860, a survey of the Italian Comedia del Arte. As usual, I selected models who live locally to represent various characters in the Harlequinade." One of the models was Diogenes.

The mural was criticised in the local press by Mr. Brian Rabin in a meeting of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce in 1976 : "It appals me that our civic leaders can frequent the Hoe Theatre without throwing up their hands in horror. The mural on the wall of the foyer shows people putting out their tongues and using Churchillian gestures.  We should try to get it whitewashed and restored to order. It's our theatre and this is just an obscene gesture to the people of Plymouth. And when will it be finished? We should invite vandals to come and scrawl on it."

The mural was covered by wallpaper during refurbishment of the theatre in 1978, but when the building was demolished in 1982 workmen discovered the painting, contacted the artist and helped him save fragments of the mural.


  SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER - Keep up-to-date with exhibitions, news and events.