ornamentedbeing: c. 1937 This changes colours with different backgrounds. So it’s purple in some and in my favorite photos pink. Oh well!
“This charming headdress was designed by Oliver Messel for Shakespeare’s This charming headdress was designed by Oliver Messel for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Old Vic in 1937.
The director, Tyrone Guthrie, used the well-known Mendelssohn incidental music, which he felt was ‘redolent of crimson and gold opera houses, of operatic fairies in white muslin flying through groves of emerald canvas.’ Messel’s designs perfectly echoed the concept.
Messel was always inventive in his use of materials and used makers, in this case Thérèse Clement, who understood his requirements. He knew that the theatre is heightened realism, so the flowers are a mixture not of fabrics but metallic paper, chandelier drops, metal discs and cellophane which subtly convey the fantasy, inhuman elements of the fairy queen and her steely character.
Titania was played in this production by Vivien Leigh who, crowned with ‘stars’ and with the gauze ribbons falling down her back, looked the epitome of an imperious Victorian fairy queen. A. E. Wilson reported that she was ‘like an exquisite picture from some Victorian lady’s keepsake’. Messel, was a good friend of Leigh and kept this headdress as a prized possession, storing it in a box which he painted himself in characteristic style. The box is now as desirable as the headdress is contains.”
Chandelier drops are so much fun to play with!!