“Shanroy” Scenery from The Servais Le Roy Co.
A photograph of this backdrop can be found on page 123 of Servais Le Roy – Monarch of Mystery by Mike Caveney and William Rauscher. This type of scenery was said to be invented and manufactured solely by the Company. The advertisements in Servais Le Roy’s Magical Monthly, one of which is illustrated here, claim a number of benefits compared with canvas. Not least, the scenery is said to be a third of the weight of canvas, three times as durable and can be folded or crushed without damage or creasing. Inspection of this piece, now over 100 years old, suggests the claims are true. Percy Naldrett, who at one time worked for the Company, said that the scenery was painted with aniline dyes which required expert knowledge because the colours changed markedly when the dyes dried. The colour photographs shown here were taken in 2022 by placing the backdrop flat on the floor, to avoid the possibility of damaging it by trying to hang it. The name Shanroy presumably comes from SHANtung fabric and Le ROY.