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Costume design - Emile Littler Archive
  • Emile Littler Archive
    Comelli, Attilio, born 1858 - died 1925
  • Enlarge image

Emile Littler Archive

  • Object:

    Costume design

  • Place of origin:

    London (possibly, drawn)

  • Date:

    1921 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the Estate of Emile Littler

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Costume design by Attilio Comelli for a member of the chorus in a production of Sybil at Daly's Theatre, in 1921.

Sybil, or Szibill in the original Hungarian is an operetta with music by Victor Jacobi. The story follows Sybil, a singer from Paris, who arrives in Russia and meets an officer, Petrov who falls in love with her. There follows a case of mistaken identity in which Sybil is thought to be the wife of the Grand Duke. The Grand Duke goes along with this deception and his wife pretends to be Sybil. The Grand Duchess then becomes attracted to Petrov and the Grand Duke tries to attack him. After much confusion everyone's true identity is revealed and the play ends happily.

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 production of the play opened at Daly's Theatre, London on 19th February 1921.

Physical description

Costume design for a member of the chorus in Sybil at Daly's Theatre. It shows a full length image of a woman in a costume inspired by Russian 'folk dress'. It consists of a long, narrow dull red tunic, patterned with swirling motifs, the hem bordered with a band of brown fabric. The cuffs of this long sleeved tunic are trimmed with white and gold lace. Over this tunic she wears a short, deep green waistcoat, the hem bordered with parallel gold bands and fastening at the centre front with bands of dark brown fur and with an upstanding collar. She carries a white handkerchief decorated with delicate red and green patterns at the borders. She also wears a pair of pale gold gloves and a wide brown fur hat with a tight gold band at its base and with two strands of silver beads on either side of her face. The design is signed Comelli and dated 1921.
The borders of design are bound in a transparent gauze which is pinned in place. Pinned to this gauze are two scraps of fabric, one a scrap of dark red silk woven with floral motifs, the other a scrap of green silk velvet. A hand drawn charts detailing the measurements of the actress for whom the costume was intended is pinned to the rear of the design.

Place of Origin

London (possibly, drawn)


1921 (drawn)


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

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and watercolour

Marks and inscriptions

Comelli 1921
Handwritten annotation in ink to the left of the design

Sk 3. Mauton
Handwritten annotation in red and black ink in the first two columns of the first chart

Large pencil annotation in the top right hand corner of the design


Height: 36.2 cm, Width: 27.5 cm

Descriptive line

Costume design by Attilio Comelli for a member of the chorus in Sybil at Daly's Theatre, 1921. Emile Littler Archive.


Ink; Watercolour; Pencil; Millboard; Ruled paper; Pins; Velvet; Silk brocade


Free-hand drawing; Painting (image-making)


Entertainment & Leisure; Drawings; Paintings


Theatre and Performance Collection

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