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Costume design - costume design
  • costume design
    Keene, Richard Wynn, born 1809 - died 1887
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costume design

  • Object:

    Costume design

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1860 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Keene, Richard Wynn, born 1809 - died 1887 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and watercolour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs. W.W. Smith

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is one of a set of seven designs by Richard Wynn Keene or Dykwynkyn (1809-1887), for an assortment of comic Knights in the first Christmas pantomime ever staged at Her Majesty's Theatre. Harlequin and Tom Thumb!, or, Merlin The Magician and the Good Fairies of the Court of King Arthur, which opened on Christmas Eve 1860, was by all accounts a splendid pantomime, with brilliant set designs supervised by the well-known scene designer William Beverley, and remarkable costumes and the pantomime 'big heads' designed by the artist, sculptor, mask and property maker and costume designer known as Dykwynkyn. The heads traditionally featured in the opening of pantomimes at this date, and their design was a speciality of Dykwynkyn's.

The Knights in Tom Thumb appeared in 'The Banqueting Hall in the Palace of King Arthur', the scene in the Harlequinade part of the pantomime in which Tom Thumb lived in King Arthur's Court. The inscription on this Knight's shield must have referred to some business in the pantomime.

Physical description

Pencil and watercolour costume design on cream paper for A Short Knight, depicting a helmeted Knight with a walrus moustache and bulbous nose. He wears chain mail and a blue tabard and is depicted lunging forward with his left knee bent, holding an axe behind him in his left hand and protecting himself with a shield held with his right hand. The shield is inscribed 'AXE YOUR WAY OR CUT'. The sheet of cream paper has been cut and pasted onto a buff-coloured paper support. The title 'A SHORT KNIGHT' is written below the image on the main sheet, which is also inscribed in ink: '(once - a Forte-night)' and in pencil, top right.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1860 (designed)


Keene, Richard Wynn, born 1809 - died 1887 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

In red watercolour, below the image on the main sheet of paper.

'bottle at his back inproper (very)'
Pencil note, top right of the central sheet of paper, with an outline sketch of a bottle

Signed in pen and ink on the shape of an artist's palette near the character's right foot.

"Tom Thumb" Her Majesty's Theatre
In brown ink, verso.


Height: 28.1 cm overall height of support paper, Height: 26.1 cm height of smaller sheet, Width: 23.1 cm overall width of support paper, Width: 17.7 cm width of smaller sheet

Object history note

Given to the donor in the 1920s by her husband's aunt, a friend of Florence Glossop Harris, daughter of Sir Augustus Harrris and wife of Frank Cellier.

Descriptive line

Costume design for A Short Knight, one of several Knight designs for the pantomime Harlequin and Tom Thumb! or, Merlin The Magician, & the Good Fairies of the Court of King Arthur, Her Majesty's Theatre, 24 December 1860. Pencil and watercolour by 'Dykwynkyn' - Richard Wynn Keene (1809-1887)


Pencil; Watercolour; Paper


Drawn; Painted; Inscribed

Subjects depicted



Entertainment & Leisure; Designs


Theatre and Performance Collection

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