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Drawing - Theatrical drawing by John Crockett
  • Theatrical drawing by John Crockett
    Crockett, John, born 1918 - died 1986
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Theatrical drawing by John Crockett

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1946 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Crockett, John, born 1918 - died 1986 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Crockett

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

John Crockett's drawing shows an actor making up for a performance by The Compass Players, a small post-war British touring company dedicated to producing a repertoire of classics. Their work incuded Marlowe's Dr. Faustus, plays by Shaw, Synge, Chekhov, Moliere, Fry, Milton's masque Comus, and exciting versions of Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale, and Jonah and the Whale - both adapted by John Crockett, the company's artistic director as well as a dancer and an accomplished artist.

The Compass Players were based in John Crockett's home, an old house and estate in Gloucestershire, and played wherever they could - in village halls, miners' Institutes and schools across the country, with everything carried in a recycled laundry van called Bertha. It had seats for nine and space behind them for the sets, props, costumes, lighting and sound equipment for the three or four productions for each tour. The entire company acted, stage-managed, lit the show, maintained the costumes and props and put up and struck the set. A school matinee and an evening show daily was normal. Hospitality was offered in many places, and gratefully accepted since everyone in the company existed on 15/- per week plus their keep. Company members might find themselves guests in a miner's cottage one night and in a mansion the next, and Compass players never ever forgot the training they gained or the impact their visits had on the many small communities that welcomed them

Physical description

Actress making up in a dressing room for a performance by the Compass Players. Pen and ink and watercolour drawing showing an actress, centre, wearing a tan-coloured shirt and beige shorts, standing with her back to the viewer, at an oval-topped framed wall-mirror, applying make-up or cream to her neck with her right hand. Behind her are the backs of two Windsor chairs which are drawn up to a table in the foreground covered with make-up, bottles, a make-up box, sheets of paper and sticks of greasepaint. Another female figure can be seen sitting at the table to the left of the picture, her hands clasped in front of her, and her reflection can be seen in the mirror beside that of the actress making-up.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (drawn)


ca. 1946 (painted)


Crockett, John, born 1918 - died 1986 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and watercolour

Marks and inscriptions

'John Crockett'
Signed in black ink, lower right-hand corner


Height: 34.7 cm, Width: 26.8 cm

Descriptive line

Actress making up in a dressing room for a performance by The Compass Players. Pen, ink and watercolour by John Crockett, ca.1946. John Crockett Collection.


Pen; Watercolour; Paper


Drawn; Painted

Subjects depicted

Dressing room; Make-up


Drawings; Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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