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  • Date:

    1933 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted plywood, wood and card

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This cut-out figure is a souvenir of John Gielgud (1904-2000) in the title role of Richard of Bordeaux by Gordon Davuiot, which opened at London’s New Theatre 2 February 1933, with Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as his queen. It was created as a pair with a similar figure of Gwen as the Queen.The reviews for Gielgud were ecstatic; it was a sell-out, and made him a star. He was besieged by giggling fans and received white harts – the emblem of Richard II - in every shape and form, embroidered on handkerchiefs, stamped on cigarette-boxes.

The mediaeval costumes proved inspirational.The Sketch devoted a page to a photoshoot of puppets dressed as Gielgud and Ffrangcon-Davies and manipulated into poses from the play, and also produced a faux-medieval fashion spread with Ffrangcon-Davies modelling the two-horned headdress. The play ran for more than 14 months, including a regional tour. After the last performance in a theatre in Golders Green, the police had to be called to keep back the crowd who surged against the stage door.

Physical description

Painted plywood souvenir or large toy theatre figure of John Gielgud as Richard of Bordeaux. He wears a chain-mail hood, a dark grey floor-length robe with a black floor-length cloak, and a large buckled leather belt into which a dagger is tucked. He has a small goatee beard and is wearing one silver gauntlet on his left hand, which holds the other gauntlet


1933 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Painted plywood, wood and card

Object history note

Richard of Bordeauxopened at the New Theatre, 2 February 1933. It was written by the author and playwright Elizabeth MacKintosh (1896-1952) who wrote historical novels as Josephine Tey and called herself Gordon Daviot as a dramatist

Descriptive line

Souvenir in the shape of a large toy theatre figure of John Gielgud (1904-2000) in the title role of Richard of Bordeaux by Gordon Daviot, New Theatre, 1933.


Plywood; Paint; Wood; Card


Cut-out; Painting; Glueing


Theatre and Performance Collection

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