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  • 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 fabric

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Crockett

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Mask for Covetousness 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.

Physical description

Full face mask with exaggerated features: the mask has hollowed eyes, an extended nose and lopsided mouth with full lips. The mask has been painted green and orange. Sewn around the edge and covering the back of the head is a length of black fabric. On top of the fabric, filled gloves painted in muted pink, yellow and purple tones are stacked on top of each other to suggest covetousness.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1950 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Painted papier-mâché and fabric

Descriptive line

Mask for Covetousness designed 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.


Papier-mâché; Paint


Forming; Painting; Sewing


Entertainment & Leisure; Theatre


Theatre and Performance Collection

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