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Costume sketch - Iolanthe


  • Object:

    Costume sketch

  • Place of origin:

    London (designed)

  • Date:

    late 19th century (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Home, Percy (designers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    charcoal and crayon on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Bridget D'Oyly Carte.
    The V&A wishes to acknowledge the generous support given by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, which facilitated the cataloguing of the D’Oyly Carte Archive designs in 2015/16.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Iolanthe, or, The Peer and The Peri by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan was produced at the Savoy Theatre under the management of Richard D’Oyly Carte on Saturday 25th November 1882, until Tuesday 1st January 1884.

Sullivan was reluctant to be more famous for comic opera than for classical composition, but since he enjoyed the lifestyle it financed, began work on a score for Gilbert’s new libretto during the summer of 1882. Originally titled Perola and changed to Iolanthe at the last minute to maintain secrecy, Gilbert’s new libretto indulged his whimsical penchant bringing fairies to Westminster, whilst satirising the British parliamentary system, especially the House of Lords. As ever Gilbert meticulously planned the contrasting stage pictures made by his settings and characters including a fairy chorus and their Queen, a chorus of Peers, the Lord Chancellor, the banished fairy Iolanthe, and her half human son Strephon in love with the beautiful shepherdess Phyllis, the Lord Chancellor’s ward. With Sullivan’s equally contrasting pastoral and stirring music, brilliant lyrics and the added surprise of electric lights on the fairies’ foreheads, Iolanthe was another hit in London and New York, where D’Oyly Carte opened a production at the Standard Theatre the same night.

Physical description

Charcoal and crayon on paper costume sketch by Percy Home for The Lord Chancellor from a production of Iolanthe, late 19th century. The sketch features a male figure wearing a black and yellow robe.

Place of Origin

London (designed)


late 19th century (designed)


Home, Percy (designers)

Materials and Techniques

charcoal and crayon on paper


Height: 23.7 cm, Width: 14.4 cm

Descriptive line

Costume sketch by Percy Home for The Lord Chancellor from a production of Iolanthe, late 19th century


Charcoal; Crayon; Paper


Drawing (image-making); Designing; Sketching


Entertainment & Leisure; Opera; Designs; Theatre


Theatre and Performance Collection

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