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Mask

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1950 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Crockett, John, born 1918 - died 1986 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted papier-mâché and glass

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Crockett

  • Museum number:

    S.477:6-1980

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Mask for Lechery designed and made by John Crockett, worn in the Masque of the Seven Deadly Sins in Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus, Compass Players tour, 1950-1951.

John Crockett (1918-1986) was the artistic director of a post-war touring theatre company called the Compass Players, a small company which could have been described at the time as part of a commune. An estate and an old house on the edge of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire provided accommodation, office and rehearsal space for an acting company of seven, as well as a home for the family of John Crockett, who was a fine artist and dancer, as well as an actor and director.

The company was dedicated to producing a repertoire of classics, and these included Doctor Faustus,Milton's masque Comus, plays by Shaw, Synge, Chekhov, Moliere and Christopher Fry, and versions of The Pardoner's Tale from The Canterbury Tales and of Jonah and the Whale - both adapted by John Crockett.

The Compass Players appeared in village halls, miners' institutes and schools across Britain, usually performing a school's matinee and an evening show each day. Cast and equipment travelled in a converted laundry van. The entire company acted, stage managed, lit the show, maintained the costumes and stage properties and put up the set.

John Crockett designed all the masks for Doctor Faustus, creating moulds based on the actors' faces. All available members of the company were recruited to make the papier-mâché and the finished masks were then painted by John Crockett. Joyce Allan played Lechery. Armine Sandford, who acted and served as the company's wardrobe mistress, recalled that 'Joyce's own hair was visible behind the mask for Lechery whose face was deadly pale - one eye closed in a lascivious wink. For the other, John had used a huge amber glass eye which had fallen out of a rather battered leopard skin I had once brought back from Exeter' (Plays Without Theatres: Recollections of The Compass Players Travelling Theatre 1944-1952).

Physical description

Full face mask with one glass eye and the other partially open. Large lips are painted in dark red with the mouth slightly open. The complexion is painted white and grey, with green and black highlights around the eye sockets, nose, cheeks and chin. Elastic tape is tied across the back to enable wear.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1950 (made)

Artist/maker

Crockett, John, born 1918 - died 1986 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted papier-mâché and glass

Dimensions

Height: 21 cm, Width: 14 cm, Depth: 12.5 cm

Descriptive line

Mask for Lechery designed and made by John Crockett, worn in Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus, Compass Players tour, 1950-1951

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Dellar, Pamela (ed). Plays Without Theatres: Recollections of The Compass Players Travelling Theatre 1944-1952. Beverley: Highgate Publications, 1989. 173p. ISBN 0-948929-27-8.

Materials

Papier-mâché; Paint; Glass

Techniques

Forming; Painting

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Theatre

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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