Design for Robin Oakapple's costume in Ruddigore

Design for Robin Oakapple's costume in Ruddigore

A swatch of fabric is pinned to the design as a sample for the costumier and handwritten notes on the design include those on the front: 'Robin 1st Dress', and 'large lay down collar', and one on the back saying that the gaiters should have seven buttons! Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas became famous for their superb costumes and sets. On Gilbert’s advice, D'Oyly Carte commissioned the very best designers, and if Gilbert liked working with them, they were used again. Every design had to be approved by Gilbert, and if Gilbert didn't like a design, he would sometimes sketch it himself and return it to the designer for reference. The look of a play or an opera was always an integral part of Gilbert's concern from the moment he started writing. He was a talented artist himself sketches of his characters often feature in the margins of his plot books, and he designed costumes for some of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas himself.