Sketches of Costumes and Sets for The Royal Ballet

AThe Invitation
1960, Costume design by Nicholas Georgiadis

 I grew up in a homogenous suburban bubble on the edge of a mid-sized, historically industrial city, and then I went to school in a homogenous collegiate bubble on the edge of a mid-sized, historically industrial city. So when I spent the spring semester of my junior year studying in London, my field of view widened drastically—particularly artistically.

In addition to visiting countless museums and seeing plays of all scales and scopes, I saw the Royal Ballet twice: Frederick Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardée, and Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet.

I loved both.

Cover

Last weekend, I went to a magical Barnes and Noble that has a cheap used book section (yes, really!), and I found this 1981 compendium: The Royal Ballet: The First Fifty Years by Alexander Bland. I had to have it. Yes, it has a lot of dense copy about company/production history which I will never read, and comprehensive indices with lists of dancers and repertory, as well as moderately interesting production photos. But the best part? It includes beautiful full-color sketches and illustrations of costumes and set design.

Fascinating and inspiring, no? Such diverse ideas and illustration styles.

GTop Left: Giselle (Bathilde) 1968, costume design by Peter Farmer.
Top Right: The Sleeping Beauty (a courtier) 1973, costume design by Peter Farmer.
Bottom Row: Mayerling 1978, Costume designs by Nicholas Georgiadis.

BLes Patineurs
Set and costumes designed by William Chappell, 1937

ERomeo and Juliet
1965 decor by Nicholas Georgiagis

FAnastasia
1971, Designed by Barry Kay

CThe Rake’s Progress
Costume sketches by Rex Whistler for the 1942 revival, annotated by Whistler and Valois

IElite Syncopations
1974, Costume designs by Ian Spurling

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