Theatre Costume thumbnail 1
Theatre Costume thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Theatre Costume

1921 (made)

Stylised Russian peasant dress for the Buffoon's wife in the ballet Chout, The Tale of the Buffoon Who Outwits Seven Other Buffoons(Chout being the French phonetic equivalent of the Russian word for ‘buffoon’) was a ballet in six scenes based on a Russian folk tale from the Urals. Essentially a satirical tale from Perm region Chout concerns a wily peasant who dupes a rich merchant, a priest and his wife. Prokofiev deleted the religious element and played up the hero’s seven foolish neighbours who believe a so-called magic whip that can restore a person to life after killing them.

The ballet had a gestation period of five years from Serge Prokofiev being commissioned to compose the score and the production was created by Mikhail Larionov and Thadée Slavinsky. It was the brightly-coloured, cubist-style set which received most praise although there were some reservations as it was so busy that that the dancers themselves were not always clearly seen. Chout was first performed by the Ballets Russes on 17 May 1921 at the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Lyrique, Paris and it remained in the company’s repertoire until 1924. The costumes executed by Maison Jove under the direction of Mme Bongard

Lydia Sokolova, who took over the role of the Buffoon’s Wife from Catherine Devillier was not happy with it for ‘I felt there was no real dancing to get my teeth into’ and she did not appreciate the music. In addition she told Richard Buckle that her costume was 'hell to dance in'.
watch Conservation stories: Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes The V&A holds the largest collection of Ballets Russes costumes in the world. Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance, and V&A conservation specialists take us behind the scenes as they prepare key objects, costumes and a giant stage cloth for display in the major 2010 exhibition 'Diaghilev and t...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Theatre Costume
  • Dance Costume
  • Theatre Costume
  • Dance Costume
  • Skirt
  • Theatre Costume
  • Dance Costume
  • Headdress
Materials and Techniques
Cane, cotton
Brief Description
Costume for the Buffoon's Wife in Larionov and Slavinsky's ballet Chout designed by Mikhail Larionov, Diaghilev Ballet, 1921.
Physical Description
Costume for the Buffoon's Wife in Larionov and Slavinsky's ballet Chout designed by Mikhail Larionov, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, 1921.

Sleeved bodice, grotesquely shaped and decorated with multicoloured appliques and red sateen buttons.

Exaggerated skirt, shaped into huge cane 'panniers', visible to one side, the rest a white felt skirt with asymmetric leaf and geometric appliques in red, blue, green and yellow.

Stylized cane stiffened kokoshnik with applique leaves and inverted chevrons in yellow cotton with lines of blue cotton.
Object history
Owned by the Diaghilev and de Basil Foundation Ltd then purchased at Sotheby auction at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 19 December 1969 by Richard Buckle's Friends of the Museum of Performance Lot 83. Hammer price £320. Donated to V&A.
Summary
Stylised Russian peasant dress for the Buffoon's wife in the ballet Chout, The Tale of the Buffoon Who Outwits Seven Other Buffoons(Chout being the French phonetic equivalent of the Russian word for ‘buffoon’) was a ballet in six scenes based on a Russian folk tale from the Urals. Essentially a satirical tale from Perm region Chout concerns a wily peasant who dupes a rich merchant, a priest and his wife. Prokofiev deleted the religious element and played up the hero’s seven foolish neighbours who believe a so-called magic whip that can restore a person to life after killing them.



The ballet had a gestation period of five years from Serge Prokofiev being commissioned to compose the score and the production was created by Mikhail Larionov and Thadée Slavinsky. It was the brightly-coloured, cubist-style set which received most praise although there were some reservations as it was so busy that that the dancers themselves were not always clearly seen. Chout was first performed by the Ballets Russes on 17 May 1921 at the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Lyrique, Paris and it remained in the company’s repertoire until 1924. The costumes executed by Maison Jove under the direction of Mme Bongard



Lydia Sokolova, who took over the role of the Buffoon’s Wife from Catherine Devillier was not happy with it for ‘I felt there was no real dancing to get my teeth into’ and she did not appreciate the music. In addition she told Richard Buckle that her costume was 'hell to dance in'.

Collection
Accession Number
S.762-1980

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record createdJuly 1, 2009
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