This is one of the posters that the D'Oyly Carte used to advertise the original American production of The Pirates of Penzance
, the only Gilbert and Sullivan opera to première in America.
This is a restoration, took me about 5 hours. The original had some big holes, and also some alignment issues.
It's probably worth noting the bits where I had to use my own initiative to fill in a problem with the original (mainly holes and severe alignment issues)
* Reconstructed large hole over Major General Stanley's Ear, based loosely on the ear of the bearded pirate to the right of him. The pirate just left of Stanley was missing one eye and the top of his head to the hole; I borrowed an eye from elsewhere, and speculated a skullcap bandana, like all the other pirates wore. I tried to make it as unobtrusive and unnoticable as possible. Stanley's hairstyle is based on a few tiny details left at the edge of the hole.
* The dress of the woman in the far upper left had a colouring error below one of the two gaps (the white line is actually one of two joins in that area), where the lower quarter of her bodice suddenly turned red. This was an obvious printing error (though an authentic one), so I fixed it, keeping with the artistic intent.
* Due to the awkward join, the neck of the woman far right had grown excessively long - I don't think that was authentic; but any other join I tried would have required even more changes - it's quite possible the paper was not laying flat when the Library of Congress scanned it, and lay a different way when they scanned the second part. I rearranged a few details slighty there - the top of her dress went up slightly, and I reconstructed a few minor details around it.
* The bottom section of the dress of the kneeling woman suffered from an awkward join between the glued-together bits of paper that made up the poster which broke the stripes. It also appears to have either been scanned very poorly, or to have had grubby fingers blur the ink. I did the minimum changes to make it "look right" along the join, moving a couple stripes around so they matched up, and trying to finish a wrinkle just about visible.
The rest is fairly normal "fill in the gaps with the obvious colour/pattern", and not worth mentioning.
Original is by A.S. Seer, copyright 1880. (The opera premièred on 31 December 1879).
Oh, and the don't bother to mention it on the image description page, but that this is for a D'Oyly Carte production can be seen on [link]
"Earliest Copyrighted Posters
[Posters for D'Oyly Carte production of H.M.S. Pinafore, Mikado, Pirates of Penzance]"
God knows why they hide that information away: It's rather relevant.