Original Design for Three Pierrot Costumes by Berkeley Sutcliffe


Berkeley Sutcliffe.

[1952.] Signed in pencil by the artist. Design in pencil, ink and gouache to grey paper; pencilled notations around design, 'Executed by St. John Roper' stamp, 'The Property of Emile Littler' stamp. 308 x 334mm. 0.1kg. . Good; vertical crease, light creasing and edge wear, occasional pin-holes, unevenly cropped to left margin.

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.
This design for three pierrot costumes is titled '3 Singers, D. 55, 56, 57' 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 is signed by the artist and features his notations to the design. The costume was executed by costume designer and maker St. John Roper.