Original Design for a King & Page Costume by Berkeley Sutcliffe


Berkeley Sutcliffe.

[1952.] Signed in pencil by the artist. Design in pencil, ink and gouache to grey card; five original fabric swatches stitched & pinned to design, pencilled notations around design, actors noted in ink, 'Executed by St. John Roper' stamp, 'The Property of Emile Littler' stamp. 326 x 382mm. 0.1kg. . Good; the image has been divided into two parts (probably whilst the individual designs were being made-up), cropped to top edge, unevenly cropped to lower left forecorner, light vertical crease, some light edge creasing, occasional pin-holes.

Robert Berkeley Sutcliffe (1918-1979) was a leading theatre designer of the mid-twentieth century, designing costumes and scenery for Shakespeare plays, revues, pantomimes and musicals. He bought to his creations a sense of colour, fun and the carnival. Concurrently with his theatre career, he was head designer at Fortnum and Mason, for whom he designed their famous clock. The present costume design is for a production of the musical Love From Judy, which premiered at the New Hippodrome, Coventry in 1952 before transferring to the Saville Theatre, London. The musical was directed by Charles Hickman, adapted from the book by Jean Webster and Eric Maschwitz, and with music by Hugh Martin. The story revolves around an orphan Judy, lifted out of poverty by a mysterious benefactor. Judy must write to her benefactor once a month. Over time the two fall in love.
A double costume design for a King and accompanying Page. The Sun King-style costume includes a long train which is carried by the Page. The design has been cut vertically into two at some point, presumably so the designs could be worked on seperately. The costumes appeared in the opening 'Mardi Gras' chorus number in Act One. The carnival number allowed Sutcliffe to indulge in lavish and dramatic costumes. The drawing is signed by the artist and features his notations to the design. The original blue, white and gold fabrics for the costume are attached to the design. The King costume was worn by the actor William Woasdale and the Page was played by Miss Janet Page, a 'Girl Dancer'.  The designs were executed by costume designer and maker St. John Roper.