Lillah McCarthy as Viola in 'Twelfth Night'

© estate of Malcolm Arbuthnot

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Lillah McCarthy as Viola in 'Twelfth Night'

by Malcolm Arbuthnot
sepia platinum print, November 1912
8 in. x 5 7/8 in. (202 mm x 150 mm)
Purchased, 2004
Photographs Collection
NPG x128113

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In September 1912 the McCarthy-Barker partnership began a series of Shakespeare plays at the Savoy Theatre. In Twelfth Night, the costumes and stage set designed by Norman Wilkinson, differed greatly from previous convention and included pink pillars rather than realistic scenery. Through the developing of new techniques of acting and stage presentation Granville-Barker wished to restore Shakespeare as a writer of living plays.

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Current affairs

The Royal Flying Corps is established. During the Great War, planes and balloons were used mainly for reconnaissance and observation before technological advances made them fast enough and manoeuvrable enough to attack enemy positions and fight in the air. Arthur (Bomber) Harris won distinction as a pilot destroying five enemy aircraft in the war. In the Second World War he became Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

Art and science

George Bernard Shaw writes Pygmalion.
Charles Babbage's invents the Analytic Machine. Considered to be the forerunner to the modern computer, the machine was able to make automatic mathematical calculations.


Scott leads the British Expedition to the South Pole reaching it in January 1912 only to discover that the rival Norwegian party had beaten them by a month. All members of Scott's team perished on the return journey. Captain Oates' famous last words were immortalised in Scott's diary: 'I am just going outside and may be some time.'
The 'unsinkable' Titanic strikes an iceberg and goes down on its maiden journey between Southampton and New York.

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