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Stage Cloth

Stage Cloth

  • Place of origin:

    London (designed)

  • Date:

    1983 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hockney, David, born 1937 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted cotton cloth

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Throughout the 20th century, great painters have been employed to design sets and costumes, with varying degrees of success. Among the most successful is David Hockney (born 1937), whose bold sense of form and colour are admirably suited to the stage. His ability to absorb a subject and then embody it visually using only the essential elements gives a great simplicity to his stage pictures, creating the essence of a character, theme or period.

Physical description

White silk cloth sprayed or splattered blue as a background and painted with a brush with wavy dark and lighter blue lines, some areas left unpainted, representing sea, sky and clouds. Attached to a cream cotton webbing border and sewn with cotton webbing tabs. Made from 12 strips of material, the seams running horizontally, with a sleeve at the bottom for a rod, made from the fabric turned over. Backcloth stored folded in a green plasticized bag, the bag inscribed: ‘D1 LENFANT & ROSS’ and painted with an arrow and 'GAUZE'. Underneath that ‘E8’ changed to ‘E9 SEA SILK.’

Place of Origin

London (designed)


1983 (painted)


Hockney, David, born 1937 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Painted cotton cloth

Marks and inscriptions

Bag inscribed: 'D1 LEFANT & ROSS' and painted with an arrow and 'GAUZE'. Underneath that 'E8' changed to 'E9 SEA SILK'.


Height: 1090.0 cm approximately, Width: 760.0 cm approximately

Object history note

Cloth used as part of the staging for Le Rossignol (The Nightingale) and L'Enfant et les Sortilèges (The Child and the Spells), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 1983.

Descriptive line

Stage cloth designed by David Hockney for a double bill of Stravinsky's opera Le Rossignol and Ravel's opera L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 1983. Painted silk cloth.


Paint; Cotton (textile)


Priming; Painting (image-making)

Subjects depicted

Waves; Sea


Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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