Original Design for a Vivandiere Costume by Berkeley Sutcliffe


Berkeley Sutcliffe.

[1952.] Design in pencil, ink and gouache to grey paper; pencilled notations around design, list of actors noted in ink. 305 x 175mm. 0.1kg. . Good; some creasing, occassional pin-holes to paper.

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 and over time the two fall in love.
This design for a female masked military costume is titled 'Vivandiere, D. 43' and 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 features the artist's notations to the design and crossed out names denote that the costume was worn by Pixie Murphy and Jeanette Landis.