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Costume Design - Drury Lane Design Collection
  • Drury Lane Design Collection
    Comelli, Attilio, born 1858 - died 1925
  • Enlarge image

Drury Lane Design Collection

  • Object:

    Costume Design

  • Date:

    1915 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Comelli, Attilio, born 1858 - died 1925 (designer)

  • Museum number:

    S.2087-2010

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Costume design by Comelli for 'Rosabel Friends' in a production of Puss in Boots at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1915. These girls were evidently friends of the heroine, Princess Rosabel.

A production of Puss in Boots first performed at Covent Garden in 1817-1818, but was not a success. In 1832 another version entitled, Puss In Boots: or Harlequin and The Miller's Son was also performed at Covent Garden in which Eliza Povey (who played the role of the Miller's Son) was one of the earliest Principal Boys. These early productions were chiefly Harlequinades rather than the pantomime versions which are more familiar to modern audiences.

Drury Lane first produced Puss In Boots: or Harlequin and the Fairy Of The Golden Palms in 1859, and in 1868 the theatre produced Grimalkin The Great: or Harlequin Puss In Boots and The Miller's Son. They had more success with their sumptuous 1887 production, which as its title (Puss in Boots) suggests followed the 'rags to riches' storyline of the traditional fairytale.

These designs come from a production at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in December of 1915 entitled Puss in Boots, (A fairy tale). The script was written by Geo.R.Sims, Frank Dix and Arthur Collins featured music composed and arranged by J.M.Glover. It starred Miss Renée Meayer as Puss in Boots. All the costumes we 'specially designed and supervised' by Comelli. The production was mounted during World War One when business was understandably poor for the theatre, with the result that the cast were actually asked to accept a half salary for the run. Fortunately the subsequent success of the show meant that it ran from December until Easter and the cast were eventually presented with cheques making up their salary to the full amount.

Comelli (1858-1925) was the house designer of the Royal Opera House from the late 1880s to the early 1920s. During this period he also worked for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and also designed costumes from a number of Gilbert & Sullivan productions.

This design comes from a collection of costume designs, some of which are costumier's copies, which were originally part of the Archives of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Physical description

Costume design by Comelli for 'Rosabel Friends' in a production of Puss in Boots, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1915. A watercolour costume sketch showing a young woman dressed in a full skirted pale turquoise dress, her hair dressed in gold ringlets with a pale rose above her left ear. The bodice of the dress is gathered in to tight pleats at the waist and has low, slopping shoulders and is worn over a full sleeved shirt gathered in tight bands at the cuff. The frills of white bloomers are also visible peeping out from beneath the hem of the three tiered skirt. Two scraps of white and pale blue silk (placed inside a secol sleeve) accompany the design. The design is signed and dated Comelli, 1915.

Date

1915 (designed)

Artist/maker

Comelli, Attilio, born 1858 - died 1925 (designer)

Marks and inscriptions

Rosabel Friends
Handwritten annotation in ink at the bottom right hand corner of the design

Comelli 1915
Handwritten signature in blue ink at the left hand side of the design

Lovell/Mason/Laurel/Squire/Strange
Handwritten annotation in pencil on the rear of the design.

Sc III
Handwritten annotation in ink on the bottom left hand corner of the design

Dimensions

Height: 36.2 cm, Width: 26.2 cm

Descriptive line

Costume design by Comelli for 'Rosabel Friends' in a production of Puss in Boots at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1915. Drury Lane Design Collection.

Materials

Paper; Watercolour on paper; Pen

Techniques

Painting; Painting

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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