Costume design for Saint Joan

Costume design for Saint Joan

This stunning costume design was created by Charles Ricketts for Tremouille in the first performance of George Bernard Shaw's play Saint Joan in 1924.

There were no stage design courses in the early 20th century and, like many stage designers at this time, Ricketts was an artist, skilled in many aspects of painting and engraving. For him, stage designing was a relaxation. He first took it up at the age of 40 as something he did without payment for friends like Harley Granville Barker, Sybil Thorndike or Lillah McCarthy. He believed that stage designers should aim at a 'beautiful simplicity' and the elimination of fussy detail.

This design shows how brilliantly he succeeded. The shape of the costume is simple, the period suggested in the headdress with its scalloped edging. The bold over-all design gives a sense of richness and power, while the contrast of the black and gold costume with the brilliant blue headdress is masterly.