'The Viking Boat' float, City of Liverpool 700th Anniversary Pageant, Wavertree Park, Liverpool (1907) , James Herbert McNair

Photograph of a viking boat with several men on board

Liverpool Record Office, Liverpool Libraries

Tableaux were a familiar part of civic and cultural life in Britain at the turn of the century.

With other staff and students from the School, the McNairs designed and made costumes and sets for a variety of plays and tableaux. Ephemeral and unrecorded, this academic and creative aspect of their output has been largely overlooked.

One fragment survives: this photograph of McNair’s float for the civic pageant celebrating the 700th anniversary of the founding of Liverpool.