Music sheet cover. La Traviata. Printed by John Brandard (c.1860). V&A.
Scene from Verdi’s popular 1852 opera La Traviata (The Courtesan). It was based on The Lady of the Camellias, Alexander Dumas’ fictionalised account of his affair with the courtesan Marguerite Gautier. This illustration shows the scene where, believing courtesan Violetta has betrayed him, Alfredo publicly throws money at her as payment for her services. The subject was considered so shocking that, when the opera was first produced in London, the setting was transferred to the 16th century.