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Painting - Herr Schoot Drum Demon, Mr James, Oil, 1896 Object Reg. No: HT 23700

Oil painting depicting Herr Schoot (George Twentyman) standing in front of the Fincham Organ at the Exhibition Building. It was painted by Mr James in 1896 for the Albury Exhibition. George Twentyman played Grosse Caisse (Base Drum) in the Centennial Orchestra, and was Drum Major with a Military Band that performed at the Melbourne International Centennial Exhibition, 1880-81.

Herr Schoot, the Drum Demon, was well known in the eastern states of Australia for his recreations of battle scenes and other catastrophes. His act comprised over 20 drums and other percussive devices; the most famous of Twentyman's performances was a recreation of a train crash at Warrnambool. Twentyman's act was very similar to that of Pietro Canna. Canna performed the battle of Tel-el-Kebir on up to 30 drums of different sizes at the 1884 Jubilee Exhibition. Whilst on tour in south-east Asia, Canna drowned but his legacy lived on in Twentyman's acts. Twentyman was known to Canna, and it is likely he was developing his percussive extravaganza's before Canna's death; a letter written to Canna in August 1885 noted 'Geo Twentyman has invented a new solo which is to beat you altogether.'

When not performing, Twentyman ran a large music emporium in Geelong, and tuned pianos. He also toured the western districts of Victoria, performing percussive soundtracks to Magic Lantern shows.
Oil painting on canvas, nailed onto a wooden frame. Depicts drum major Herr Schoot holding a tenor drum, standing in front of an arrangement of percussion instruments on the stage of the Exhibition Building. The Fincham Organ is depicted in the background. On the choir seating is a banner reading 'Herr Schoot/ Drum Demon'. Remnants of a paper label affixed to back of canvas. Hand-written information about painter, date and exhibition on top of frame.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Robert McGlashan, 2009
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 560 mm (Height), 665 mm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: music performances, musicians, percussion instruments
Themes this item is part of: The Centennial Orchestra, Music at the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition 1888, Royal Exhibition Building Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: PUBLIC EVENTS
Secondary Classification: Melbourne Centennial Exhibition 1888
Tertiary Classification: paintings
Inscriptions: Handwritten in ink on top left of frame: Painted by/ Mr James in 1896 for the Albury/ Exhibition
Handwritten in texta top of frame, just right of centre: PAINTED/ MR JAMES 1896
Place & Date Depicted: Royal Exhibition Building (REB), Victoria, Australia, 1880s
Artist: Mr James, Victoria, Australia, 1896
Person Named: Herr Schoot, 1885-1900
Person Named: Mr George Twentyman, 1885-1900

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