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Costume design - The Admirable Crichton
  • The Admirable Crichton
    Shepperson, Claude Allin ARA, ARWS, ARE, born 1867 - died 1921
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The Admirable Crichton

  • Object:

    Costume design

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (designed)

  • Date:

    1920 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Shepperson, Claude Allin ARA, ARWS, ARE, born 1867 - died 1921 (costume designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink and watercolour on paper pasted on card in card mount

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Mr L.E. Berman

  • Museum number:

    S.5431-2009

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In his popular play, The Admirable Crichton (1902), J.M. Barrie looked at the British class system through the medium of comic fantasy. An Earl, his family, friends and servants are shipwrecked on a desert island. The Earl is a man of liberal social views; his butler, Crichton, a firm believer in the status quo. But as the most practical of the castaways Crichton finds himself in charge and by Act III, set two years after the shipwreck, he has assumed authority.

When the play was revived at the Royalty Theatre in 1920 the women's Act III costumes were designed by Claude Shepperson (1867-1921), an artist and book illustrator who was better known for his black and white line drawings than as a costume designer. Shepperson created some amusing outfits which showed the Earl's daughters acclimatised to their surroundings and transformed into Amazonian hunters, but ones with smart 1920s hairstyles. The card, on which this design is mounted, is heavily annotated with notes about the costume and explains that Lady Catherine is wearing 'a silver grey fur three quarter coat with wide short sleeves' and a 'brightly dyed flame colored tunic & short breeches of doe skin'.

Physical description

Costume design by Claude Shepperson for Lady Catherine Lasenby in The Admirable Crichton, Royalty Theatre, 1920. Young woman with short black hair facing left, holding a long staff in her right hand. She wears an orange tunic and shorts with a grey short sleeved fur overtunic and has a small basket on a strap round her shoulder. The design has been pasted on card and firmly attached to a card mount. On the card below the design are pencil annotations which give details of the costume.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (designed)

Date

1920 (designed)

Artist/maker

Shepperson, Claude Allin ARA, ARWS, ARE, born 1867 - died 1921 (costume designer)

Materials and Techniques

Ink and watercolour on paper pasted on card in card mount

Marks and inscriptions

'Shepperson'
Artist's signature in pencil lower left hand corner of design

'Lady Catherine'
Annotation in pencil in lower left hand corner of card. There are further pencil annotations detailing the costume.

'Bequeathed by Mr. L.E. Berman'
Printed, lower left hand corner of card.

Dimensions

Height: 25.4 cm design, Width: 19.5 cm design, Height: 28.7 cm card, Width: 22 cm card, Height: 39 cm mount, Width: 28 cm mount

Object history note

J.M. Barrie's play The Admirable Crichton (first staged in 1902) was presented at the Royalty Theatre in 1920 with a revised ending. The cast included Dennis Eadie as the butler Crichton, Alfred Bishop as the Earl of Loan, Julia James as Lady Mary Lasenby, Ann Desmond as Lady Catherine Lasenby, Cicely Chance as Lady Agatha Lasenby and Sylvia Oakley as Tweeny. The play was directed by Gerald du Maurier. Claude Shepperson designed the women's Act III costumes, which were made by the theatrical costumiers, B.J. Simmons & Co.

Descriptive line

Costume design by Claude Shepperson for Lady Catherine Lasenby in J.M. Barrie's play The Admirable Crichton, Royalty Theatre, 1920.

Materials

Ink; Watercolour; Paper; Card

Techniques

Drawing (metal-working); Painting (image-making)

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Designs

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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