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Gore was fascinated by the theatre, ballet and music hall, and from his seat in the audience he made numerous sketchbook drawings on which he based his paintings. Rule Britannia shows the finale of a popular patriotic ballet called Our Flag, which opened at the Alhambra Theatre of Varieties, Leicester Square, in December 1909. It starred the Danish ballerina Britta Petersen, shown here performing the final dance in her Union Jack tutu. Gore emphasises the unusual colours of the stage lighting, which contrast with the dullness of the auditorium.

February 2016