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Theatre costume - Recreation of the costume worn by Louis XIV as Apollo
  • Recreation of the costume worn by Louis XIV as Apollo
    Walker, David, born 1934 - died 2008
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Recreation of the costume worn by Louis XIV as Apollo

  • Object:

    Theatre costume

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1969 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Walker, David, born 1934 - died 2008 (costume designer)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by The Royal Academy of Dancing

  • Museum number:

    S.1657&A to I-1982

  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, Room 105, case 10 []

At the 17th century French court, ballet was performed not by professionals, but by the aristocrats themselves, including the king, Louis XIV (1638-1715), who was passionately fond of dancing. In 1653, he appeared in Ballet de la nuit as Apollo, god of the sun in Greek mythology, who puts to flight darkness and evil. From his appearance in this ballet came his sobriquet "The Sun King" - as the sun gave light and life to the earth, ran the symbolism, so the young King cast light and life over France and his subjects.

This stunning costume is a reconstruction of Louis's costume as Apollo, devised by David Walker for Ballet For All, the Royal Ballet's educational demonstration group. Walker had great knowledge of costume and would thoroughly research historical dress, but he also understood that it had to be translated into contemporary terms. The costume recreates the impression of sumptuous richness while using 20th century materials, including gold lurex and, for the motifs, plastic furniture decorations. Under modern stage lighting the effect was like a burst of sunshine, so that modern audiences could understand why the original made such an indelible impact on 17th century spectators.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (probably, made)

Date

1969 (made)

Artist/maker

Walker, David, born 1934 - died 2008 (costume designer)

Dimensions

Height: 200 cm, Width: 85 cm, Depth: 75 cm, Length: 144 cm Part G, Width: 29 cm Part G, Weight: 0.6 kg Part G

Object history note

Recreation of the costume worn by Louis XIV as the Sun in the ballet Ballet Royal de la nuit, 1653. The costume was used in the production The Twelfth Rose, performed by Ballet For All (part of the Royal Ballet) at the Swan Theatre, Worcester, September 1969. The choreography for the reconstruction was by Mary Skeaping, the music was by Camberfort, and the words were by Benserade (translated by Fergus Early). The costumes were designed by David Walker.

Descriptive line

Recreation of the costume worn by Louis XIV as Apollo in Ballet Royal de la nuit (1653) used in the production The Twelfth Rose, Ballet For All, Swan Theatre, Worcester, 1969. Designed by David Walker

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Stage costumes

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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