Much Ado about Nothing by Frank Lynn Jenkins and Gerald Moira. Painted plaster bas relief panel, 75 x 107 cm. Photograph by owner (private collection). [Click on images to enlarge them.]
An illustration of the panel in The Studio.
The scene depicted here is a private chapel at night with monks processing within the wrought iron grille with lighted tapers. Outside a figure is placing a scroll so that it may be read by those visiting the chapel.
Moira and Lynn Jenkins have chosen to depict the episode in Act V, scene III, where Claudio, believing Hero to have died from grief at his rejection of her at their wedding, obeys Leonato, Hero’s father’s, wishes: he visits the family "monument" at night, and places his declaration of her innocence of the charges against her, as an epitaph on her tomb in the family chapel. He reads from a scroll before fastening it at the chapel entrance:
"Done to death by slanderous tongues
Was the Hero that here lies: ....
Hang thou there upon the tomb Praising her when I am dumb...."
It is a curious choice of scene, involving as it does the sub-plot rather than the main one: perhaps the patron whose library the panel adorned was more interested in Claudio and Hero than the more famous Beatrice and Benedick!
Scanned image, formatting and caption by George P. Landow; colour images and explanation of the scene kindly provided by the owners of the panel and added later by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and the University of Toronto for the black and white one, and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.
“The Gerald Moira and Frank Lynn Jenkins Panels.” Designs from 1860. Edinburgh: Bonham's catalogue for sale of 9 November 2006, no. 236.
“Some Decorations for a Library, by Gerald Moira and Frank Lynn Jenkins.” The Studio 14 (1898): 186-190. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Toronto Library. Web. 8 May 2013.
Last modified 16 July 2021 (images and comment added)