Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Theatre make-up design

Theatre make-up design

  • Place of origin:


  • Date:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    pencil and watercolour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Wendy Toye

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Rex Whistler drew this make-up study to help Wendy Toye when she created the title role in The Infanta’s Birthday. This ballet inspired by the story by Oscar Wilde was choreographed by Penelope Spencer for a matinee by Mme Karsavina and her school in aid of King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill at the Savoy Theatre, London, on Friday 11 March 1932. The music was by A. E. [Betty] Lutyens with ‘costumes and decorations’ by Rex Whistler. The ballet concerned a dwarf (originally played by the choreographer, Penelope Spencer) who produced an entertainment to please the princess but realising his love for her is unrequited dies of a broken heart. The ballet was revised and presented for two performances by the Camargo Ballet Society on 4 and 5 December 1932 at the Adelphi with Hedley Briggs as the Dwarf. The Yorkshire Post (05/03/1932) found the choreography confused but ‘Mr. Rex Whistler has given a pleasing grey background to his humorously resplendent costumes.’ For Arnold Haskell in the New English Weekly ‘the ballet was Wendy Toye. With no effort this child was able to portray a proud, spoiled, cruel, aristocratic princess’.

Physical description

Make-up design by Rex Whistler for the Infanta in Penelope Spencer’s ballet The Infanta’s Birthday showing slit eyes full, red, slightly down-turned lips and hair out to the side

Place of Origin




Materials and Techniques

pencil and watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

The Infanta
Rex Whistler

Rex Whistler’s signature is now faint


Height: 24.7 cm, Width: 17.7 cm

Descriptive line

Design by Rex Whistler for the Infanta’s make-up in the ballet The Infanta’s Birthday 1932


Theatre costume; Entertainment & Leisure; Make-up; Dance


Theatre and Performance Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.