Florimene: Relief Scene Note

Florimène at the Court of Charles I


The Relief Area and Scenes of Relief

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Scene of Relief (sometimes Relieve Scene): A scene located upstage of the backshutter bank, often made up of several cut or profiled scenic elements. Whether this technique originated with Inigo Jones is problematic, although it is probably safe to speculate that the relief area, as a unique part of the stage, is almost certainly an English idea.*

In the plan at the left, the spacing of the elements in the relief scene are show at the top of the drawing.

The term relief appears to have been used interchangeably with the terms relieve, scene of relief and scene of relieve. The arguement is carefully documented in Richard Southern's Changeable Scenery.

Judging from the evidence provided by drawings of Inigo Jones and his contemporaries, the relief area was often used to display what today we would call "cut and profiled" scenes, scenic pieces with holes cut in them and with edges cut in profile, often set in overlapping depth.

In the illustration to the right, the dark green backshutter has been pulled off to "discover" (reveal) the scene of relief, here made up of two cut drops, their centers removed, and a scene painted on the third (blue) drop.