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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 Ophelia, showing full length female figure wearing Elizabethan dress with white skirt padded at the back hips, the hem decorated with black bands, the pointed bodice bright rose red with white vertical bands either side of blue trim which rises into a wired upstanding white collar with a flower trim at the left. The sleeves are bright rose red with rows of white lozenges and ovals simulating slashing, enclosed within white lines, and at the shoulders are blue green puffs 'attached' to the sleeves by blue and dark blue green 'ties'. In the hair are similar 'knots'. The design is inscribed with the name of the role 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 / 50.'
Signature; date; Lower left hand corner; 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 British Council tour 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 Ophelia in Hamlet 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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