Not currently on display at the V&A

What The Butler Saw

Artwork
1975 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is the original poster design for the 1975 revival of What the Butler Saw at the Royal Court Theatre, London. The play is a farce set in a psychiatric clinic, which is reflected in the irreverence of the poster itself, a photo-collage designed by director Lindsay Anderson. This was a reference to Orton's own interest in collage; Orton and his partner Kenneth Halliwell served six months in prison after they spent a period in 1962 for defacing library books stolen from Islington libraries to make collages.

What the Butler Saw was Joe Orton's last play, and was not produced in the West End until 1969 at the Queen's Theatre, two years after Joe Orton was murdered by Kenneth Halliwell. The original production had a star cast including Ralph Richardson, Stanley Baxter and Coral Browne, but the play was not well received by the critics who dismissed it as filth. The play's reputation was not restored until this 1975 revival at the Royal Court, directed by Lindsay Anderson.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Collage
Brief Description
Original poster design for What the Butler Saw at the Royal Court Theatre, London, 1975
Physical Description
Photographic, pictorial and typographic collage
Dimensions
  • Height: 60cm
  • Width: 38cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • ROYAL COURT THEATRE / Sloane Square SW1. 01-730 1745 in association with Michael White and Eddie Kulukundis presents
  • WHAT THE BUTLER SAW
  • by Joe Orton
  • WITH / JANE CARR / VALENTINE DYALL / BRIAN GLOVER / KEVIN LLOYD / BETTY MARSDEN / MICHAEL MEDWIN
  • directed by / Lindsay Anderson
  • designed by / Jocelyn Herbert / lighting by / Nick Chelton / music by / Alan Price
Gallery Label
Poster for What the Butler Saw 1975 This is the original artwork for the 1975 production of Joe Orton's play What the Butler Saw. It was designed by director Lindsay Anderson as a photo-collage, a reference to Orton's own liking for collage. Orton appears in the lower right-hand corner of the poster. [45 words] Play by Joe Orton, 1969 Royal Court Theatre, London Paper, printed materials and glue Designed by Lindsay Anderson (1923-94) Bequeathed by Lindsay Anderson Museum no. S.1076-1995
Credit line
Bequeathed by Lindsay Anderson
Subjects depicted
Association
Summary
This is the original poster design for the 1975 revival of What the Butler Saw at the Royal Court Theatre, London. The play is a farce set in a psychiatric clinic, which is reflected in the irreverence of the poster itself, a photo-collage designed by director Lindsay Anderson. This was a reference to Orton's own interest in collage; Orton and his partner Kenneth Halliwell served six months in prison after they spent a period in 1962 for defacing library books stolen from Islington libraries to make collages.



What the Butler Saw was Joe Orton's last play, and was not produced in the West End until 1969 at the Queen's Theatre, two years after Joe Orton was murdered by Kenneth Halliwell. The original production had a star cast including Ralph Richardson, Stanley Baxter and Coral Browne, but the play was not well received by the critics who dismissed it as filth. The play's reputation was not restored until this 1975 revival at the Royal Court, directed by Lindsay Anderson.
Collection
Accession Number
S.1076-1995

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record createdMay 1, 2008
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