Oliver Messel. A Biography

Oliver Messel. A Biography
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Charles Castle. Foreword by Sir John Gielgud.

London. Thames & Hudson. 1986. Hardback, dust jacket. 264 pages. With 145 illustrations, 20 in colour. 280 x 235mm (11 x 9"). 1.4kg. English. Fine.

'Oliver Messel had a brilliant career as a designer for theatre, ballet, opera and films, which spanned over four decades, from the early 1920s to his death in 1978. For his host of admirers, his work was the epitome of good taste, delicate fantasy and magical illusion. Although he was remarkably assiduous and painstaking artist, he was also well place socially to become a familiar figure in the merry party-going circles of London, the Continent and New York from the '20s to the '50s... he became the world's most sought-after and highly-paid scenery and costume designer, and experienced one triumph after another both in the West End and on Broadway... In his later years, he was able to develop more fully his lifelong interest in architecture and interior decoration, and he was responsible for a number of charming and original houses in the tropical settings of Barbados and Mustique. Charles Castle provides a fascinating account of Messel's life and work, based mainly on autobiographical notes Messel left at his death to his nephew, The Earl of Snowdon. Castle includes personal interviews with members of Messel's family, his friends and his professional colleagues, together with a wealth of illustrations covering all aspects of the artist's career. (from the blurb).