Tamara Karsavina as the Firebird in Mikhail Fokine's ballet 'L'Oiseau de feu'

Painting
ca. 1918 (made)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Left of centre, in a spotlight beneath the curving branches of a stylised tree bearing golden apples, a full length female figure in fantastical costume with high feather headdress stands on point with arms bent at elbows, the left across the upper body, the right held outward from body. In the background railings and to right part of an elaborate gate.
Thick impasto in areas with artist's fingerprints visble and marks made in wet paint with the end of the brush. Hairs and brush bristles have dried into the paint. Signed lower left hand corner: Allinson.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on hardboard
Brief Description
Tamara Karsavina as the Firebird in Mikhail Fokine's ballet 'L'Oiseau de feu' by Adrian Allinson. Oil on hardboard.
Physical Description
Left of centre, in a spotlight beneath the curving branches of a stylised tree bearing golden apples, a full length female figure in fantastical costume with high feather headdress stands on point with arms bent at elbows, the left across the upper body, the right held outward from body. In the background railings and to right part of an elaborate gate.

Thick impasto in areas with artist's fingerprints visble and marks made in wet paint with the end of the brush. Hairs and brush bristles have dried into the paint. Signed lower left hand corner: Allinson.
Dimensions
  • Height: 640mm
  • Width: 525mm
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
  • "Allinson" (Signature; Lower left hand corner; Handwriting; Oil colour)
  • "Allinson / 1686 mk close up" ? (Textual information; Reverse; Handwriting; Pencil; Unknown)
Credit line
Cyril W Beaumont Bequest
Object history
Tamara Karsavina created the role of the Firebird in Mikhail Fokine's ballet, which was premiered by the Diaghilev Ballets Russes in Paris in 1910 and seen in London in 1912. The painting shows the Firebird in the Bakst-designed costume against the set designed by Alexander Golovine. Bakst later redesigned the costumes for the principals, but the set and remaining costumes were in use until 1926, when the production was redesigned by Natalia Goncharova.

The painting came to the Museum as part of the Cyril Beaumont Bequest.



Historical significance: The painting shows the original Firebird costume designed by Bakst against the Golovine-designed set. This is a rare example of a painting of the Diaghilev Ballet which shows the dancer on stage in the setting and is an important record of how the ballet looked on stage.
Subjects depicted
Bibliographic Reference
Ashton, Geoffrey, Catalogue of Paintings at theTheatre Museum, London, edited by James Fowler, Victoria & Albert Museum in association with The Society for Theatre Research, London, 1992, cat. 78
Collection
Accession Number
S.59-1988

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record createdJuly 18, 2001
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