Set Model thumbnail 1
Set Model thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Set Model

ca. 1938 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Erté (1892-1990) was the pseudonym of Romain de Tirtoff, one of most inventive designers of the 20th century. Born in Russia he moved to Paris in 1912 where he became an assistant to the fashion designer, Paul Poiret. Poiret's assistants were not allowed to sign their work so Erté's first design for the theatre went unacknowledged. It was a costume for the dancer, Mata Hari, now more famous as a spy. Erté's elegant and extravagant Art Deco style made him an ideal designer for revue where he could dress the showgirls in flowing drapery, glittering jewels and feathers. He designed a series of lavish shows in Paris and became associated with the Folies Bergères. This led to commissions to create sets and costumes for the glamorous New York shows of Florenz Ziegfeld and George White. From 1937 Erté worked in Britain, designing costumes and scenery for revues in the West End and in seaside towns. For 20 years he designed shows at the Blackpool Opera House.

Erté's jewel-like set models are as much works of art in their own right as they are guides to the set builders. Under the Sea was a scene in an as yet unidentified revue. It may have been one of the seaside shows, possibly in Brighton. Erté did design costumes for the musical comedy, The Fleet's Lit Up (London Hippodrome, 1938), which includes a scene set in the Seahorse Night Club but photographs show that this did not resemble the model.


Object details
Category
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Set Model
  • Set Model
Materials and techniques
Watercolour, gouache, card and wood
Brief description
Set model by Erté for Under the Sea, a sequence in an unidentified revue, ca.1938
Physical description
Wooden case containing two set models, to left a model showing a circle of dancers with seahorses, to right a model for an underwater scene.
Dimensions
  • Height: 22cm
  • Width: 47cm
  • Depth: 19cm
Object history
The set models were made for scenes in an as yet unidentified revue. It may have been one of the seaside revues which Erté designed, possibly in Brighton ca. 1939. Erté did design costumes for the musical comedy, The Fleet's Lit Up (London Hippodrome, 1938), which included a scene set in the Seahorse Night Club but photographs show that this did not resemble the model.
Summary
Erté (1892-1990) was the pseudonym of Romain de Tirtoff, one of most inventive designers of the 20th century. Born in Russia he moved to Paris in 1912 where he became an assistant to the fashion designer, Paul Poiret. Poiret's assistants were not allowed to sign their work so Erté's first design for the theatre went unacknowledged. It was a costume for the dancer, Mata Hari, now more famous as a spy. Erté's elegant and extravagant Art Deco style made him an ideal designer for revue where he could dress the showgirls in flowing drapery, glittering jewels and feathers. He designed a series of lavish shows in Paris and became associated with the Folies Bergères. This led to commissions to create sets and costumes for the glamorous New York shows of Florenz Ziegfeld and George White. From 1937 Erté worked in Britain, designing costumes and scenery for revues in the West End and in seaside towns. For 20 years he designed shows at the Blackpool Opera House.



Erté's jewel-like set models are as much works of art in their own right as they are guides to the set builders. Under the Sea was a scene in an as yet unidentified revue. It may have been one of the seaside shows, possibly in Brighton. Erté did design costumes for the musical comedy, The Fleet's Lit Up (London Hippodrome, 1938), which includes a scene set in the Seahorse Night Club but photographs show that this did not resemble the model.
Collection
Accession number
E.1325&A-1970

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Record createdFebruary 7, 2008
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