Jane Pritchard

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The final curtain

This entry brings the blog for Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929 to its conclusion. I had hoped to write more about the dismantling of the exhibition but time has run out. Briefly the costumes that had been on open display had to have three days in the freezer before being carefully packed. A large refrigerator was hired for a week of the kind used for ‘Wimbledon and royal events’ to keep food cool. Freezing protects fabrics, killing off any insects and, while we are vigilant and hope to keep the museum free of pests, these …

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Castles in Spain (well factories)

Caxia-Forum, Barcelona While the galleries are being stripped, Diana and I took off for Barcelona where a significant selection of the V&A’s Diaghilev exhibition will be show from October before moving on to Madrid next year. We saw the space where it will be presented in the stunning Caxia-Forum which houses three concurrent exhibitions from all over the world at one time. The one we saw most closely was Roads to Arabia Archaeological treasures from Saudi Arabia. The building was originally a textile factory but designed a century ago in the Catalan art nouveau style by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, …

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I eat my words!

The Ballets Russes on stage during their first visit to the Fêtes des Narcisses when they danced Les Sylphides and Aurora’s Wedding (which is shown in this photograph). The Exhibition build is being dismantled – the cloths are all wrapped up and the technicians taking all the structures down and I shall report further on this as I wrap up this blog BUT I am still leading an exciting life going out and about. At Monday’s Dance Critics Awards at Sadler’s Wells the exhibition received praise from members of the dance profession ( a very welcome acknowledgement) and I am …

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Over

Our last courier arrived from Hamburg today to reclaim the wonderful cartoons of Le Spectre de la rose by Jean Cocteau. Material from the ‘props store’ has been claimed for the Friday late on 25 March which will have a performance theme . Many of the costumes are already crated up on their mannequins for their transatlantic voyage although we have been having some problems with our freezer which has delayed the packing a little. It really is over. The banners in the Sackler Centre have been taken down and the Degas painting of the ballet scene from Meyerbeer’s opera …

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Archives

Alicia Markova in La Chatte and the petty cash receipt in her own hand for her shoes for this ballet The Archival case has been dismantled. This was the last material taken out of its case. It was fun putting this together and although some visitors moved past it quickly others poured over the documents fascinated. The documents ranged from the first contract for Hilda Munnings (about to become Munningsova and later Lydia Sokolova), together with a letter from her father as in 1913 she was underage to sign a legal document, through to a petty cash receipt for Alicia …

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Continuing Mysteries

The cover of the 1915 souvenir programme, note the women’s Kokoshnik headdresses The Nijinsky, Poiret and Matisse cases were de-installed today so many of our star objects have been put away. As all the costumes are packed it is an opportunity to check details – sometimes because of questions received during the exhibition – sometimes because other questions spring to mind. It is fascinating, for example, to look closely at the Snow Maiden’s headscarf for Soleil de nuit spread flat out to appreciate its appliqué. The solo, originally danced by Lydia Lopokova, was added by Massine to his ballet created …

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Still revolving

The banners have gone! As far as I can see the only public vestige of the exhibition in and around the V&A is the banners in the Sackler Centre from the ‘Train bleu project’ and posters covering the glass on the door to gallery 38. All the orange posters and banners have disappeared from the tunnel to South Kensington tube and from around the exhibition. We have also disappeared from the Home Page of the V&A’s website so information on the exhibition may now require a little more hunting! In the galleries the revolve with the costumes from Daphnis and …

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Going, going, gone

After filing my blog yesterday I returned to the galleries for a last look.After 17.15 the crowds thinned out and among the last visitors were a widely diverse group; two children were dancing in front of The Firebird and a family was making lightening sketches of costumes. Visitors departed reluctantly but happily and I knew I’d never see the full exhibition again. How right I was. By the time I reached the gallery this morning the whole of the Rite of Spring section had been dismantled including the Meissen figures from Le Carnaval and the designs and drawings of Le …

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A disappearing act and answers to questions

As I arrived at the V&A on Sunday at 8.45 the last banners advertising Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929 were being taken down which really made it feel like the end. However I had one last special tour to give ahead of the public flocking in. By lunchtime the tickets for the last day were completely sold out, as were the copies of the book to accompany the exhibition. Adolph Bolm in Prince Igor Comments left about the exhibition have been enlightening and helpful. Yes, with the crowds flocking in this last week it did …

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The end continues

A view of the end of the exhibition showing Diaghilev’s death mask, set designs for The Prodigal Son and costumes for Le Bal as well as the legacy section with the final AV screen. This week the exhibition has been crowded with about four times the numbers of visitors we have had in previous weeks. While before New Year it was very comfortable, enabling the visitors easy access to captions (Yes I know it depends on how tall you are as to how easy they are to read) and to view the AVs. I will admit that with the hoards …

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