HTNS Painted Rooms of Nova Scotia

Building Information

Property Name:
Musquodoboit Valley Bicentennial Theatre and Cultural Centre
Property Type:
Cultural Center
Full Address &
Geographic Location:

12390 Hwy 224 Middle Musquodoboit Nova Scotia B0N 1X0
Latitude: 45.046 Longitude: -63.1563
VIEW ON GOOGLE MAPS
County:
Halifax County
Construction Details:
Construction Date: ??-??-1928 Builder Name:
Current Owner:
Halifax Regional Municipality .
Public Access:
Yes

Heritage Designation:
Municipal
Remarks:
The Musquodoboit Bicentennial Theatre and Cultural Centre, a 3 level wooden building, was constructed in 1928 by the people of Middle Musquodoboit as meeting hall for the 'Old Fellows Lodge'. This centre was also used for various events ranging from community dinners, local school plays, recitals and travelling performances such as musical acts, stage dramas, magic shows, and dance performance. By the late 1970s membership was declining and, as a result, maintenance of the building could no longer be efficiently supported. In 1983, the building was turned over to the community for the sum of $1.00. The ownership of the building itself was taken over by the Municipality of Halifax County (HRM). Fundraising efforts began in order to aid the restoration of the dilapidated building. Provincial and Municipal grants were awarded. Renovations began in 1983. In 1929, Mrs. Harriet Claypool, a Musquodoboit resident, purchased a painted backdrop from the Halifax Majestic (formerly the Academy of Music) for the Old Fellows Hall. The large scenic backdrop, depicting a garden landscape, was the work of renowned Canadian scenic artist William Gill (1854-1943). The backdrop (distemper on canvas) was painted in 1892 as part of the set stock scenery for the Halifax Academy of Music. Distemper (hide glue and dry pigment) was used because it is water soluble and that would allow the paint to be washed out or painted over to permit multiple use of the canvas. The scene was employed as a backdrop in the theatreís final production, of Victor Herbertís Fortune Teller in 1929. When the backdrop was moved to the Bicentennial Theatre in Musquodoboit, the painted scene had to be cut down in size (estimated 4½ feet was lost) to be well adapted in its new environment. By 1983, the painted backdrop was in great need of repair. Local artist Roberta "Bobbie" Annand over-painted about 60% of the backdrop with interior latex based paint in order to save it from being thrown away. In 2002, the painted set was evaluated by James Bordeau, a conservator with the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa. The restoration, done primarily by Michelle Gallinger, Art Restoration and Conservation Services, with the assistance of Elizabeth Jorblonski, was completed in just over a year's time. Upon completion of the restoration, as well as the completion of the repairs in the theatre, the backdrop was re-installed in order to be enjoyed once again by the local residents. Although the backdrop is not a painted interior (ornamented architectural space) it is, nevertheless, a rare example of a surviving scenic backdrop painting which is of great historical significance. It should be noted that scenic painters were also interior stencil painters and decorators. In fact, there are two buildings in Newfoundland with painted interiors (restored by conservator Michelle Gallinger) that were painted by scenic artists.
Top

Building Photographs

Media
Remarks

Exterior view of the Bicentennial Theatre. Photograph taken from the Musquodoboit Valley Bicentennial Theatre and Cultural Centre website (2006).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 479
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

William Gill's 1892 garden scene in its original environment, the stage of the Halifax Majestic Theatre (June 28th, 1929). Photograph courtesy of Public Archives of Nova Scotia.
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 480
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

William Gill's garden scene hanging in the Bicentennial Theatre. This photograph was taken in 1983 after the backdrop had been re-touched by local artist Roberta "Bobbie" Annand. Photograph taken from the Musquodoboit Valley Bicentennial Theatre and Cultural Centre website.
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 481
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

William Gill's painted backdrop awaits restoration (2002). Photograph by Michelle Gallinger (conservator).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 482
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Detail. Pre-restoration. Photograph by Michelle Gallinger (2002).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 483
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Central statue. Pre-restoration. Photograph by Michelle Gallinger (2002).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 484
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Detail. Pre-restoration. Photograph by Michelle Gallinger (2002).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 485
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Water damage. Pre-restoration. Photograph by Michelle Gallinger (2002).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 486
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Cracking and peeling. Pre-restoration. Photograph by Michelle Gallinger (2002).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 487
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

The restoration process begins. Photograph by John Tates (2002).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 488
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Studying the damaged surface. Photograph by John Tates (2002).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 489
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Back side detail. William Gill had begun painting another landscape scene on the back side of the stage backdrop. Photograph by John Tates (2002).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 490
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Michelle Gallinger repairs the backside of the painting. Photograph by John Tates (2002).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 491
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

William Gill's 1892 painted backdrop. Restored. Photograph by Kelly MacDonald (2004).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 492
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Detail. Restored. Photograph by Kelly MacDonald (2004).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 493
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Patron's night. Following the unveiling of William Gill's restored backdrop, Michelle Gallinger (conservator) addresses the patrons. Photograph by Kelly MacDonald (October 23rd,2004).
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 494
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Media
Remarks

Portrait of William Gill (1854-1943). Photograph courtesy of William Gill's grandson.
Building ID: 63
Image ID: 495
Format: IMAGE
Author:

Top

Building Ownership

Top

Decorated Rooms

Top

Building Plans

Top

Additional Information

Document Title
Musquodoboit Valley Bicentennial Theatre
Author:

Publisher:
Unknown
Date:
Unknown
Document Type:
Web Link
File Name/URL:
http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/bicentennial.theatre/index.html
Comments:
Detailed history of the theatre, the backdrop painting and the artist William Gill.

Top

Bibliography

Document Title
www3.ns.sympatico.ca/bicentennial.theatre/#Gill%20Restoraion%20Thumbnails
Document Type:
Web Link
Author:
Halifax Regional Municipality - Musquodoboit Valley Bicentennial Theatre and Cultural Centre
Publisher:
Halifax Regional Municipality
Date:
??-??-2006
Comments:
All photographs were taken from this website.

Top