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EDWARD GOREY. "Q.R.V." Together, two set design illustrations created for the Amphigorey stage plays, circa 1985. One image shows vignettes of a horse and pillar above the Q.R.V. letters (which were displayed on three sides of a cube used on stage). Watercolor, pen and ink on paper, 165x184 mm; 6 1/2x7 1/4 inches. Not signed but with measurements inked in Gorey's hand in margins. The second shows vignettes of three tonic bottles of Q.R.V. Pen, ink, and correction fluid on paper. 273x203 mm; 10 3/4x8 inches. Signed in pencil, lower right, and with stage placement "Audience left/centre/right. 1/2"= 1' " in Gorey's hand, in ink, along bottom margin. Both mounted to window mattes on versos. Provenance: Ex-Collection P. Matthew Monahan of Gotham Book Mart to present owner.
The strange, wonderful, and never fully explained, but creatively described, tonic called Q.R.V. that can cure everything, appeared in books (including one of two miniature titles Gorey wrote), drawings, postcards, and stage performances.
Gorey wrote and designed the costumes and sets for "Tinned Lettuce, or The New Musical" which premiered at New York University's theater, Main Stage Two, by its undergraduate drama department in April of 1985. Gorey enjoyed re-staging the work, a series of vaudeville-like vignettes, and he reincarnated it a few times, first in 1992, renaming it "Amphigorey, A Musicale," where it was performed in Philadelphia and, in another redesign, for Off-Broadway in New York's Perry Street Theatre. The show was changed a final time, in 2000, becoming "The Gorey Details, A Musicale." Gorey was less involved in this staging, and the show was still in production at the time of his death, premiering shortly thereafter.