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Costume design
  • Costume design
    Armstrong, John, born 1893 - died 1973
  • Enlarge image

Costume design

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (drawn)

  • Date:

    1930s (Drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Armstrong, John, born 1893 - died 1973 (Costume designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and watercolour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Cyril W Beaumont Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Full length female figure with close curled yellow brown hair, on pointe with arms curved above head, wearing close fitting low-cut blue bodice with shoulder straps and central white crosses simulating lacing. The top thigh length skirt is decorated with all-over pale grey brown squiggles. The shoes are blue with blue cross-gartering. The upper body and legs are washed in flesh tones with facial features in yellow brown. Around the figure is a pencil frame. Pencil and watercolour. The paper beyond the frame is smudged with watercolour.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (drawn)


1930s (Drawn)


Armstrong, John, born 1893 - died 1973 (Costume designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Upper right hand corner; Handwriting; Pencil


Height: 192 mm irregular, Width: 140 mm irregular

Object history note

The costume was designed by John Armstrong for the Polka in Frederick Ashton's ballet Facade. The ballet was premiered by the Camargo Society in 1931 and subsequently taken into the repertory of the Ballet Club (later Ballet Rambert) and the Vic-Wells (now Royal) Ballet with the same Armstrong designs. It is possible that this is a later redrawing either for the Vic-Wells Ballet staging or as illustration to a book on ballet design.
The design came to the Theatre Museum as part of the Cyril Beaumont Bequest, and the number "1307" indicates that it was originally part of the Ballet Guild collection that became part of the London Archives of the Dance. The Archives never achieved an independent home and part of the collection was stored with Cyril Beaumont, where it became inextricably mixed with his own collection and came to the Museum as part of the Cyril Beaumont Bequest.

Historical significance: A design for Ashton's first masterpiece and one of his most enduring ballets. In using the contemporary painter John Armstrong as designer, the ballet was following in the Diaghilev tradition of commissioning easel artists as stage designers.

Descriptive line

Costume design by John Armstrong for the Polka in Frederick Ashton's ballet Facade, 1930s.


Pencil; Watercolour; Paper


Drawing (image-making)

Subjects depicted



Entertainment & Leisure; Dance; Designs

Production Type



Theatre and Performance Collection

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