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Costume design - Hugh Stevenson design
  • Hugh Stevenson design
    Stevenson, Hugh, born 1910 - died 1956
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Hugh Stevenson design

  • Object:

    Costume design

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (drawn)

  • Date:

    1950 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Stevenson, Hugh, born 1910 - died 1956 (costume designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and gouache on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Cyril W Beaumont Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Costume design by Hugh Stevenson for a Gentlewoman in Shakespeare's Macbeth, showing a full-front full-length female figure wearing chestnut brown Elizabethan-style dress with pointed bodice, puffed sleeves and tiny white 'ruffs' at sleeve and neck edges and a grey Mary Stuart cap. The sleeves are banded in black with white dashes indicating slashing, and the bodice has similar banding around shoulder line, across mid-bodice and downward into the bodice point; two black bands are around the hem. To top left is a drawing for a circlet headdress with veil and to the right a sketch of a Mary Stuart cap. The design is inscribed with the name of the role and details of fabrics and is signed and dated.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (drawn)


1950 (painted)


Stevenson, Hugh, born 1910 - died 1956 (costume designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and gouache on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Textual information; Upper right hand corner; Handwriting; Pencil

'Hugh Stevenson / 1950.'
Signature; date; Lower right hand corner; Handwriting; Pencil

'Dress of / cloth. / black velvet / bands / grey felt. / applique / slash. / double / ruffles / neck &b / wrist -'
Textual information; Upper right side; Handwriting; Pencil


Height: 558 mm, Width: 380 mm

Object history note

This is one of 25 designs by Hugh Stevenson for a programme of excerpts from Shakespeare devised for a tour of Italy (possibly under the British Council) in the early 1950s. It was performed by a small company led by Walter Fitzgerald and called for costumes that would clearly indicate the different characters while allowing for quick changes. This Stevenson achieved by creating a basic costume in the Elizabethan style for each actor to which were added robes, tunics, overdresses or accessories.
The designs are part of the collection that came to the Museum from the dance historian and publisher Cyril Beaumont and may originally have formed part of the London Archives of the Dance.

Historical significance: A group of designs showing how a designer solves the problem of creating costumes for a programme of extracts from various Shakespeare plays (which means allowing for quick changes), by creating several basic costumes which can be adapted, or to which accessories can be added, to indicate specific characters

Descriptive line

Costume design by Hugh Stevenson for the Gentlewoman in Macbeth in a programme of scenes from Shakespeare, British Council tour, early 1950s


Pencil; Gouache; Paper


Drawing (image-making); Painting

Subjects depicted



Entertainment & Leisure; Theatre; Designs

Production Type



Theatre and Performance Collection

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