It most often describes a group of suitably costumed actors, carefully posed and often theatrically lit.
By extension, it also applied to works of visual art including painting, photography and sculpture, featuring artists' models in similar arrangements, a style used frequently in the works of the Romantic, Aesthetic, Symbolist, Pre-Raphaelite, and Art Nouveau movements.
The Realism movement, with more naturalistic depictions, did not begin until the mid-19th century, a direct reaction against Romanticism and its heavy dependence on stylized was sometimes used to recreate artworks on stage, based on an etching or sketch of a painting.
This could be done as an amateur venture in a drawing room, or as a more professionally produced series of presented on a theatre stage, one following another, usually to tell a story without requiring all the usual trappings and production of a full theatre performance.
"But shooting from the ground can also make a person look much longer and taller.
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They thus influenced the form taken by later Victorian and Edwardian era magic lantern shows, and perhaps also sequential narrative comic strips (which first appeared in modern form in the late 1890s).
were often performed as the basis for school Nativity plays in England during the Victorian period; the custom is still practiced at Loughborough High School (believed to be one of England's oldest grammar schools for girls).