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Design - Design for a wall hanging in Richard III
  • Design for a wall hanging in Richard III
    Kestelman, Morris, born 1905 - died 1988
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Design for a wall hanging in Richard III

  • Object:

    Design

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1944 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kestelman, Morris, born 1905 - died 1988 (Maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache and watercolour on cartridge paper

  • Museum number:

    S.56-2005

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This design by Morris Kestelman (1905-1998) was for an element of the set of Act III in the Old Vic Theatre Company's production of Richard III at the New Theatre, London, in September 1944. Directed by John Burrell with costumes designed by Doris Zinkeisen, this wartime production has a legendary ring to it today, starring great British actors - Laurence Olivier as Richard, Ralph Richardson as Richmond and Sybil Thorndike as Margaret. Critics of the day praised the production, and one described the 'sombre pictures' created by the settings as 'grimly effective'.

This design was recreated as one of three mediaeval wall hanging for the set. It was inspired by one of the famous 15th century French tapestries known as La Dame à la Licorne. The flat, decoratively patterned background known as 'mille fleurs' is typical of the style of the tapestries, as is the elongated style of the couple walking in the fields. The artist Morris Kestelman became better known as a painter than a set designer but he worked on several productions in London during the war including the operas Carmen and Gianni Schicchi for Sadler's Wells.

Physical description

Watercolour and gouache design for the set of Richard III depicting a man and a woman walking, full-length, the woman on the man's right, against a background painted with floral pattern. Based on elements in the French mediaeval tapestry La Dame à la Licorne.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1944 (Made)

Artist/maker

Kestelman, Morris, born 1905 - died 1988 (Maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gouache and watercolour on cartridge paper

Dimensions

Height: 27.6 cm, Width: 11.4 cm

Object history note

Designed for the Old Vic Theatre Company production at the New Theatre, 13 September 1944, starring Laurence Olivier as Richard and Syblil Thorndike as Margaret. Used to decorate a flat in the set of Act 3.

Descriptive line

Design for a medieval wall hanging in the Old Vic Theatre Company's production of Richard III, New Theatre, 13 September 1944. Watercolour and gouache by Morris Kestelman (1905-1998).

Materials

Gouache; Watercolour; Cartridge paper

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Theatre; Designs

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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