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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 'dress'. It consists of an ankle length dull red dress, patterned with flowers in deeper red and with a band of brown fur at the sleeve cuffs. Over this she wears a sleeveless dull red cape trimmed with brown fur at the centre front, hem and collar. A deep green sash decorated with motifs in dull gold is suspended from her waist. She also wears a stiff wide brown fur hat, a pair of dull gold gloves and pale gold boots. The design is signed Comelli and dated 1921.

The borders of design are bound in a transparent gauze which is pinned in place. There is also a scrap of bright orange silk pinned to the gauze. A hand drawn chart 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 2. Mason
Handwritten annotation in red and black ink in the first two columns of the first chart

Handwritten annotation in blue crayon on 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; Lamé


Free-hand drawing; Painting (image-making)


Entertainment & Leisure; Drawings; Paintings


Theatre and Performance Collection

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