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May Moore Duprez

  • Object:

    Theatre costume

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (designed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1910 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sequins and net on a cotton backing

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Virginia King

  • Museum number:

    S.502-1979

  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, Room 105, case 10 []

Although billed as the Little Dutch Girl, music-hall performer May Moore Duprez's act was not limited to that one character and this sensational sequinned dress was one of two that came into the Theatre Collections. It is a rare surviving example of a glamour/fantasy style, developed in music-hall, and owing little to fashion, save that the bodice would have been modified in line with changing body shapes. This bodice and the fitted hips are characteristic of 1910, suggesting the full-bosomed mature look, but the flaring short skirt reveals the performer's legs at a time when women's dresses were still floor-length. Every millimetre is encrusted with sequins, each one painstakingly sewn on by hand, and the costume would have shone and sparkled under the stage lights. As she moved the skirt, Duprez's legs would have been revealed surrounded by a froth of underskirts in the finest chiffon, which would also have helped cushion her legs against the weight of the sequinned skirt.

Physical description

Dress worn by May Moore Duprez, possibly at the Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, and the King's Theatre, Edinburgh, ca. 1910. Short dress held over the shoulders with narrow straps covered in red sequins. Inserted into the skirt are triangular panels, creating a very full flare to the hem. The dress is completely covered with sequins, the main background being dark blue. The bodice is trimmed around the top with red and gold sequin bands, and across the centre of the bodice are outlined shallow curves in red sequins filled with gold sequins; between the curves are scattered pale yellow sequins; the bodice decoration continues into a shaped triangle in the skirt, outlined in red and filled with yellow gold sequins. The flared panels in the skirt are covered with red sequins, each set from the top with a single stem and leaves in gold sequins, each finished towards the hem in large flowers formed of thickly encrusted elliptical sequins, with dense centres of gold sequins.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (designed)

Date

ca. 1910 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Sequins and net on a cotton backing

Dimensions

Height: 100 cm, Width: 95 cm, Depth: 85 cm

Object history note

Costume worn by May Moore Duprez possibly at the Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, and the King's Theatre, Edinburgh, ca. 1910

Descriptive line

Dress worn by May Moore Duprez, possibly at the Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, and the King's Theatre, Edinburgh, ca. 1910

Materials

Sequins; Net (textile); Cotton (textile)

Techniques

Sewing

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Stage costumes; Scotland

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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