Theatre Costume

1980
Theatre Costume thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker

Ballets based on historical subjects are a particular problem for the designer as the extreme movement called for precludes direct historical reconstructions; thus a designer has to rethink history in terms of the subject and the choreography.
Nadine Baylis was an expert at creating dance costumes that carried overtones, either emotional or historical. The costumes for Journey to Avalon, which took its theme from the Arthurian legends, were brilliantly conceived. Although the action of the ballet was narrative rather than imaginative, her costumes eschewed realism and gave it the timelessness that such a theme needed. Dressing the men in basic body tights, subtly coloured and dyed, she added tattered panels of metallic knitting, which, when stretched over the body, suggested worn and battered armour and hinted at the gradual disintegration of the Camelot ideal.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
lycra, yarn. dye
Brief Description
Costume for King Arthur in 'Journey to Avalon', London Festival Ballet, Royal Festival Hall, London, 1980
Physical Description
Lycra body tights dyed in tones of dull orange and grey. Attached to the waist and chest is a knitted panel with holes in silver yarn,
Dimensions
  • Neck to toe length: 136cm
  • Across shoulders width: 47cm
  • In box with s.735, 737 & 375 1985 and s.1509 1982. total box weight weight: 2.5kg
Production typeUnique
Object history
Costume for Arthur in Barry Moreland's ballet 'Journey to Avalon', London Festival Ballet, Royal Festival Hall, London, 25th August 1980. The music for the ballet was composed by Peter Maxwell Davies, and the scenery and costumes were designed by Nadine Baylis. The cast included Jay Jolley as Arthur, Mary McKendry as Guinevere, Manola Asensio as The Lady of the Lake, Ken Wells as Mordred, Jonathan Kelly as Lancelot, and Matz Skoog as Girflet.
Production
Reason For Production: Commission
Association
Literary ReferenceArthurian legend
Summary
Ballets based on historical subjects are a particular problem for the designer as the extreme movement called for precludes direct historical reconstructions; thus a designer has to rethink history in terms of the subject and the choreography.

Nadine Baylis was an expert at creating dance costumes that carried overtones, either emotional or historical. The costumes for Journey to Avalon, which took its theme from the Arthurian legends, were brilliantly conceived. Although the action of the ballet was narrative rather than imaginative, her costumes eschewed realism and gave it the timelessness that such a theme needed. Dressing the men in basic body tights, subtly coloured and dyed, she added tattered panels of metallic knitting, which, when stretched over the body, suggested worn and battered armour and hinted at the gradual disintegration of the Camelot ideal.
Collection
Accession Number
S.736-1985

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record createdNovember 10, 2004
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