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Bitter Sweet

  • Object:


  • Date:

    1929 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gilt metal, leather and gold leaf

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss K. D. Hart

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, Room 104, case 22, shelf A []

There is a long standing theatrical tradition of actors giving one another presents on the first night of a production, and one of these whisky flasks was given by Noel Coward to each member of the cast of his operetta Bitter Sweet on the first night of the show in 1930. The flask is shaped like a book, inscribed ‘with best wishes Noel Coward’ in gold leaf on the front and with the title Bitter Sweet on the spine. One corner of the ‘book’ unscrews to reveal the opening of the flask.

Physical description

Red leather and gilt flask, with gilt corners, designed to look like a book. On the spine is the title of the play, 'Bitter-Sweet', and on the side is inscribed 'Best Wishes Noel Coward' in gold leaf. The top corner unscrews to reveal the opening of the flask.


1929 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Gilt metal, leather and gold leaf

Marks and inscriptions



With best wishes / Noel Coward
In Noel Coward's handwriting


Height: 11.1 cm, Width: 7.8 cm, Depth: 2.3 cm

Descriptive line

Flask in the form of a book, red leather with gilt metal corners, stamped 'With best wishes Noel Coward', and spine, 'Bittersweet Noel Coward'. Given to cast members by Noel Coward to commemorate the play's opening night at His Majesty's Theatre, 18 July 1929.

Labels and date

Souvenir flask given by Noël Coward
First night gifts are a long-standing theatrical tradition. Noël Coward gave one of these whisky flasks to each member of the cast on the first night of his operetta Bitter Sweet. The flask is inscribed 'with best wishes Noël Coward' and one corner of the 'book' unscrews to reveal its top.
His Majesty's Theatre, London
Gilt metal and leather

Given by Miss K.D. Hart
Museum no. S.2-1978 []


Metal; Leaf (metal); Leather


Leather-working; Metal-working; Gilding; Gold tooling

Subjects depicted



Entertainment & Leisure

Production Type

Limited edition


Theatre and Performance Collection

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