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to Battersea Evolution, 24-26 May 2018.
1 Clements Court
London
EC4N 7HB
Contact Jolyon Hudson
Telephone 020 7337 2223
Mobile 07884488134
Specialists Art, Architecture, Illustrated Books, Books on London, Pre Cinema, Topography, Exhibitions, Decorative Art
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1 Clements Court
London
EC4N 7HB
Contact Jolyon Hudson
Telephone 020 7337 2223
Mobile 07884488134
Specialists Art, Architecture, Illustrated Books, Books on London, Pre Cinema, Topography, Exhibitions, Decorative Art
Marlborough Rare Books Ltd
Stand G13

Scottish life interpreted for the West End Stage

[THEATRICAL COSTUME]. B.J. SIMMONS & Co. Theatrical Court Costumers.

THE GAY GORDONS. A series original watercolours of costume designs. [London], 1907.,

From the London costumiers of B.J. Simmons and Co., Covent Garden including some work in pencil, (10 on card, one on notepaper) together with 6 sheets of typewritten an manuscript schedule of costumes for both the London and touring performances; contained in original linen backed folder (33 x 26.5 cms.)

Note
An interesting costume archive, including watercolours and original designs, put together for the first performance of the Edwardian musical comedy The Gay Gordans involving, the then, and now well trodden script of an American heiress saving an aristocratic estate.

The Gay Gordans was based on a text by Seymour Hicks, who also had the lead role in the musical. Together with a score by Guy Jones, lyrics by Arthur Wimperis, C.H. Bovill, Henry Hamilton and the young P.G. Wodehouse the musical comedy achieved a 229 performances in its London run at the Aldwych Theatre. This initial run began on the 11th September 1907 with a closing performance on 11th April 1908 before going on tour through the provinces where it eventually reached Doncaster during 1909.

The costume designs for the production were created by William John Charles Pitcher Wilhelm (1858-1925). A number of his works are held at the V&A where he is described as working ‘in the prevailing style of late 19th century realism, but with an imagination and flair and knowledge of his subject that made him outstanding.’ Not all the costumes designs are present, either some sifting out seems to have been necessitated by the time the production was taken on tour or Simmons only supplied the bulk order. Certainly rather than go to the cost of making new costumes for the principles in the provincial productions the costumiers have marked on the schedules where more conventional costumes could be used.

The synopsis is silly but gave plenty of opportunity for good spectacle ‘The castle of the Scottish Gordon clan has been leased to a wealthy American, Andrew Quainton, whose daughter is the charming Peggy. Unfortunately, the heir to the clan’s chief has been lost, and the castle will eventually have to be ceded to the Crown. Peggy has no interest in joining the British aristocracy and has sworn not to marry a nobleman. She disguises herself as a strolling fortune teller and soon meets a young private in the Gordon Highlanders, Angus Graeme. Angus woos Peggy and gains her affection, and she is delighted to fall in love with the humble Scottish soldier lad. News arrives that the long-lost heir to the Gordon titles and fortune is Angus. He is worried that this might cause Peggy to leave him, so he continues to pretend to be plain Angus until he can figure out a way to tell her that he is really an Earl. Peggy’s brother is expected to arrive soon, and Angus intends to involve him in the deception. The plan goes awry, as Peggy impersonates her brother, and Angus tells her the secret. Peggy is annoyed at having been misled, but she is a practical American and loves Angus, so all ends happily.’ [Wikipedia]

£850