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  • Place of origin:

    Paris (printed)

  • Date:

    1913 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cocteau, Jean, born 1889 - died 1963 (maker)
    Eugene Verneau & Henri Chachoin (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mademoiselle Lucienne Astruc and Richard Buckle in memory of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Gabriel Astruc.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This huge poster, used to advertise the sixth Paris season of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in May and June 1913, is one of a pair originally designed in 1911. It depicts the ravishing ballerina Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978) as the young girl in Fokine's one-act ballet Le Spectre de la rose who returns from a ball holding a rose given to her by a young man. When she falls asleep the spirit of the rose floods her dreams as she imagines herself dancing with him.

The ballet was first performed at the Théâtre de Monte Carlo in 1911 and brought to Paris later that year. Gabriel Astruc, Diaghilev's sponsor in Paris, wanted Leon Bakst to design the poster but Bakst declined and recommended instead the 22 year-old Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) who designed two posters. The companion poster showed Vaslav Nijinsky (1888-1950) in his rose-petal costume as the spirit of the rose. Cocteau was besotted with Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes from the first time he saw them perform in Paris in 1909 and also collaborated with the company by writing the libretto for the exotic ballet Le Dieu Bleu, 1912.

Physical description

Lithographic poster showing Tamara Karsavina in her costume as the young girl in Fokine's ballet Le Spectre de la rose, standing on pointe, her hands crossed in front of her, her eyes closed, facing to the left side of the image. Above the image is printed the name of the theatre and the theatre manager, and below the image the dates of the performance and the name of the company.

Place of Origin

Paris (printed)


1913 (printed)


Cocteau, Jean, born 1889 - died 1963 (maker)
Eugene Verneau & Henri Chachoin (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Printed paper


Height: 199.5 cm, Width: 122.5 cm, Height: 213.0 cm including frame, Width: 136.0 cm including frame

Descriptive line

Poster showing Tamara Karsarvina as the young girl in Le Spectre de la rose. Lithograph designed by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) for the sixth Paris season of the Ballets Russes, May and June 1913.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Images of Show Business from the Theatre Museum, V&A Edited by James Fowler Published by Methuen 1982


Printing ink; Paper


Entertainment & Leisure; Advertising


Theatre and Performance Collection

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