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The Mikado

  • Object:

    Costume design

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1885 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wilhelm, C. RI, born 1858 - died 1925 (Artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Paper, pencil and paint

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Bridget D'Oyly Carte.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery

Physical description

Costume design by Wilhelm using pencil, watercolour and gouache on paper. Inspired by traditional Japanese kimono and signed and dated by the artist. The costume consists of an ornate silver-gray long gown with bamboo motifs, with a navy mid length jacket trimmed with red and decorated with herons. The character is depicted holding a closed Japanese folding fan in his right hand. Mounted with 3 other costume designs for the same production: S.84-1991; S.92-1991 and S.99-1991. This design (S.100-1991) is positioned at the top right of the mount.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1885 (made)


Wilhelm, C. RI, born 1858 - died 1925 (Artist)

Materials and Techniques

Paper, pencil and paint

Marks and inscriptions

Wilhelm / 85.


Height: 30 cm approximate, Width: 20 cm approximate

Descriptive line

Costume design by Wilhelm for a Japanese Gentleman in Gilbert & Sullivan's comic opera The Mikado at the Savoy Theatre, 1885.

Labels and date

The Japanese craze spread to the theatre and its most famous production was Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, the success of which did much to popularise the image of Japan. The costumes were authentically researched and many were made from Japanese fabric supplied by Liberty's. Although Gilbert used a Japanese setting, he deliberately used this to poke fun at British life and institutions. [2006]


Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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