Victoria and Albert Museum: Theatre Collections

Oliver Messel Collection, ca. 1700-1978


Introduction and summary description

Creator: Oliver Messel
Reference: THM/321
Extent: 419 files

Context

Oliver Messel was Great Britain’s leading theatre designer from the 1930s to the mid 1950s. He transformed British theatre design with his lavish and poetic style, leaving a lasting legacy to his followers. His work spans revues, musicals, theatre, ballet, opera and film. Peter Brook acknowledged him as ‘by far the most talented designer of his generation’ and the stage designer Desmond Heeley said he was ‘one of the greatest set and costume designers England has ever produced’. Painterly theatre sets composed of borders, painted flats, cutcloths and backcloths, accompanied by colourful and opulent costume designs, in a pastiche of historical styles made him the most highly paid and sought after theatre designer in the world. As fashions for design in drama shifted in the mid 1950s, he received fewer commissions and therefore concentrated on opera and musical theatre, as well as developing parallel artistic outlets in decorative art, interior design and architectural projects in Great Britain, United States and the West Indies. Throughout his career, he also worked and exhibited as a painter.

Messel was born on 13 January 1904 to Maud Frances (1875-1960) and Lieutenant-Colonel Leonard Charles Rudolph Messel (1872–1953), of Nymans, Cuckfield, Sussex. Hi mother was the daughter of the Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910), his father a soldier and a stockbroker with strong cultural interests. In 1922, after an education at Eton, he studied to be a painter at the Slade School of Fine Art under Henry Tonks; Rex Whistler was a fellow student. His formal studies concentrated on life drawing and painting, but he also made masks from papier maché and wax for student events. An exhibition of his masks at the Claridge Galleries in London in 1925 led to his first theatre commission to design masks for the Diaghilev ballet production of Zééphyre et Flore, directed by George Braque and performed at the London Coliseum in 1925.

From 1926 onward, Charles B. Cochran engaged Messel to design costumes, masks and sets for his annual revues at the London Pavilion; these revues, consisting of songs, sketches and chorus numbers, provided him with ample opportunities to develop and exercise his talent for minute attention to detail, inventive use of materials and imaginative pastiche of historical periods and styles. His reputation grew slowly; most notably, his disturbing masks for Dance, Dance, Little Lady, a song by Nöel Coward from the 1928 Cochran revue entitled This Year of Grace attracted the attention of critics; the scene was described by James Laver as “a modern Dance of Death.” (Laver, 1933).

Messel’s fashionable and inventive costumes and sets for Cochran’s Helen, an opera bouffé directed by Max Reinhard and performed at the Adelphi Theatre, London in 1932 sealed his critical success and he secured a steady stream of prestigious London theatre design commissions throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He also designed costumes and sets for film productions including Hollywood films such as Romeo and Juliet (George Cukor, 1936), and Caesar and Cleopatra (Gabriel Pascal, 1946), both of which showed his skill in creating a playful and sophisticated pastiche of historical styles.

His career peaked with the designs for the sets and costumes in the Sadler’s Wells Ballet performance of Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Opera House, London in 1946. His flamboyant fantasy designs and inventive use of materials (due to scarcity of conventional materials in post-war Britain) provided the perfect antidote to British post-war austerity. What became known as the ‘Messel Production’ and enjoyed many revivals by the Sadler's Wells Ballet / The Royal Ballet up to 1970.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Messel’s style was seen as complementing the new verse play movement, spearheaded by Christopher Fry. He designed costumes and sets for The Lady’s not for Burning (1949), Ring Round the Moon (1950) and The Dark is Light Enough (1954). His lavish approach to costume and set design was also appropriate for opera; from 1951 to 1959 he worked as a theatre designer for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, then under the artistic direction of Carl Ebert. His productions include Idomeneo (1951), Le Nozze di Figaro (1955) and Der Rosenkavalier (1959), productions which enabled Messel to use his imaginative pastiche of historical styles to good effect. Carl Toms assisted him during the Glyndebourne period, from 1952 to 1959.

During the 1950s, Messel increasingly designed costumes and sets for American theatre productions: Romeo and Juliet (1951) was his debut on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre, New York; other Messel productions in the United States include The House of Flowers (1954) at the Alvin Theatre, New York and the Le Nozze di Figaro (1959) at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. In film, he was nominated for two Oscars for the set of Suddenly Last Summer (1960); the creepy garden setting expressed another side to his style described by Roger Pinkham as “eerie, more imaginative and wilder’ (Pinkham, ed. 1983); this quality can also be seen in designs for theatre productions such as The Queen of Spades (1950) and The Little Hut (1950).

Messel’s theatre commissions began to dwindle after the mid 1950s, partly due to the expense of executing his extravagant designs and use of expensive materials, and partly due to the rise of new forms such as "kitchen sink" drama, and so he concentrated on designing opera and musical theatre productions. In addition, he received commissions for decorative art and interior design projects. Most notably, he formed an association with the silk manufacturer Sekers to design silk brocade patterns to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953, and he executed interior design commissions at the Dorchester Hotel (1953), and Bath Assembly Rooms (1963). He also created temporary decorations, for balls, festive occasions and shop displays.

For financial and health reasons, Messel moved to Barbados in 1966 where he painted portraits of the residents and began a new career as an architect, designing and decorating villas for private clients in the West Indies. On the hitherto undeveloped island of Mustique he designed luxurious villas based on the style of existing French plantation houses. He briefly returned to theatre design in the United States for the musical production Gigi (1973) and was asked to recreate his Sleeping Beauty designs of 1946 for the American Ballet Theatre production (entitled The Sleeping Princess at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York in 1976. He died at Maddox, his Barbados home, on 13 July 1978.

Scope and content

This is the largest collection of Oliver Messel’s theatre designs in the world, consisting of approximately 10,000 items. It provides comprehensive coverage of Messel’s costume and set designs for ballet, theatre, opera and film productions from 1932 to 1973, and also shows his creative process and working methods from initial idea and sketch through to finished design.

There are costume and set designs, sketches, set model pieces, photographs, fabric samples, colour palettes, costume and set notes. Messel’s decorative art and interior design commissions in Great Britain, United States and the West Indies are also covered in some depth. Additionally, there are some personal papers, photographs and reference materials.

Arrangement

This collection is organised into 5 sub-fonds:

Costume and set designs, Theatre Productions, 1932-1973
Costume and set designs, Film Productions, 1934-1960
Architectural and interior designs, 1951-1978
Other working papers, ca. 1700-1978
Photographs, ca.1920-1976

Many items in the collection have been catalogued in greater detail on the Victoria and Albert Museum Collections Information System (CIS). These items have been assigned Museum numbers, e.g. S.509-2006. These numbers are noted, where appropriate, in the file level descriptions, along with the ROT [rotation] numbers that were assigned to them for the purposes of the 1981 loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Provenance

Purchased from Lord Snowdon by the Theatre Museum with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, National Art Collections Fund and Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2005.

Custodial history

Bequeathed to Lord Snowdon, Oliver Messel’s nephew, in 1978. The collection was stored in a disused chapel at Kensington Palace with the permission of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, before being placed on indefinite loan to the Museum by Lord Snowdon in 1981.

Access

General information on access to material in the Theatre Collections is available on the research pages of the Theatre Collections Online website.

Restrictions on access

Restrictions on use

Copying of the collections may be permitted for the purposes of private study or research of a non-commercial nature, subject to certain conditions. For reasons of conservation, only printed and photographic material post-1920 may be photocopied. Material that cannot be photocopied is usually suitable for photography, either using your own equiptment or via V&A Images (www.vandaimages.com)

Related Material

Archive and manuscript sources

Theatre Museum biographical file: Oliver Messel

Theatre Museum Core Collections: designs, set models and costumes. These include objects acquired independently of this purchase.

Material relating to stage productions designed by Messel may be found in several parts of the Theatre Museum Core Collections, including production files (programmes and press cuttings) and photograph files. Similar material may also be found in several special collections, particularly those relating to H.M. Tennent Ltd (THM/53, THM/93, THM/173 and THM/338).

See also: AAD/1981/1 Ronald Fleming, interior decorator: papers, ca.1915-1976; Victoria and Albert Museum: Archive of Art and Design. Fleming and Messel collaborated on the design of the Penthouse Suite, Dorchester Hotel, London

The following items have been separated from the archive and included in the Theatre Museum Core Collections: complete set models, costumes, masks and headdresses.


Detailed catalogue

Costume and set designs, theatre productions, 1932-1973
Extent: 203 files
Costume and set designs, sketches, and set model pieces by Oliver Messel for ballet, opera and theatre productions in Great Britain and the United States from 1932 to 1973, covering his work for C. B. Cochran, Covent Garden Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and H. M. Tennent Productions Ltd., amongst others. The designs are mixed media on paper: charcoal, pencil, gouache, watercolour, gold and silver paint. Some designs are mounted on board or may have been dismounted; these boards often possess annotations, sketches and labels. Some costume designs have fabric samples attached to the design or the board. Set designs are on paper and board; many are cut-out pieces of paper and card and scaled drawings on squared tracing paper which are sometimes only a small fragment of tracing paper. The set model pieces are made from a range of material including acetate, cardboard, paper, Plaster of Paris, wire, wood and pipe cleaners, and can be two dimensional pieces on paper or card, three dimensional or a combination of two and three dimensional elements. The series also includes his production-specific costume and set design notes, costume plots, colour palettes (sheets of colour samples on paper), fabric samples, portrait sketches, set plans and set story boards.
This sub-fonds has been divided into 34 series by name of production in alphabetical order (NB series number THM/321/20 is not used).
Within each series, items are arranged by format (e.g. designs, model pieces, photographs) and then into logical groupings e.g. size and type (for example, designs divided into costume and set designs, as appropriate).

Costume and set designs for Ariadne Auf Naxos (Glyndebourne, 1953 and 1962) , ca. 1952-ca. 1962
Reference: THM/321/1
Extent: 2 files
Oliver Messel designed two versions of the production of Richard Strauss’ opera Ariadne Auf Naxos for Glyndebourne. His first version was not performed until 19 July 1962. His second version was first performed 24 June 1953 and revived 1954, 1957 and 1958.
This series includes set and costume designs and costume notes
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/1/1 Costume designs for Ariadne Auf Naxos (Glyndebourne, 1953 and 1962)
7 folders, 73 items
ca. 1952-ca. 1962
Includes sketches, designs, notes on the costumes and fabric samples. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.29-2006 (ROT 28), S.32-2006 (ROT 26), S.26-2006 (ROT 13), S.27-2006 (ROT 14), S.28-2006 (ROT 19), S.30-2006 (ROT 18) and S.31-2006 (ROT 20)
THM/321/1/2 Set designs for Adriadne Auf Naxos (Glyndebourne, 1953 and 1962)
2 folder, 18 items
ca. 1952-ca. 1962
Includes rough sketches and finished designs in pen, pencil and paint on tracing paper and paper. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.33-2006 (ROT 74), S.34-2006 (ROT 80) and S.35-2006 (ROT 81)

Costume and set designs for Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Glyndebourne, 1954) , ca. 1954
Reference: THM/321/2
Extent: 3 files
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, an opera (1816) in two acts, was composed by Rossini with libretto by Sterbini after Beaumarchais’s comedy of the same name (1775). Oliver Messel’s production was first performed by the Glyndebourne Festival Opera at Glyndebourne on 10 June, 1954; directed by Carl Ebert, featuring Bruscantini as Figaro and Graziella Sciutti as Rosina. It was revived at the Edinburgh Festival in 1955 and at Glyndebourne in 1961. Roger Pinkham has said of this production that “Messel chose a palette which echoed the contrasted and thus dramatic coloration of Goya’s paintings.” (Pinkham, ed., 1983).
This series includes notes, sketches and designs for the set and costumes of Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/2/1 Costume designs for Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Glyndebourne, 1954)
6 folders, 76 items
ca.1954
Includes sketches, designs and notes on the costumes. Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.45-2006 (ROT 189)
THM/321/2/2 Set designs for Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Glyndebourne, 1954)
1 folder, 16 items
ca.1954
Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.44-2006 (ROT 286)
THM/321/2/3 Flat model pieces for Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Glyndebourne, 1954)
1 folder, 26 items
ca.1954

Costume and set designs for La Cenerentola (Glyndebourne, 1952) , ca.1952
Reference: THM/321/3
Extent: 4 files
La Cenerentola, an opera (1817) in two acts, was composed by Rossini with a libretto by Ferretti, based on the fairy tale Cendrillon (Cinderella) by Charles Perrault (1697). Oliver Messel’s production was first performed by the Glyndebourne Festival Society at Glyndebourne on 18 June 1952; directed by Carl Ebert and featuring Oncina as Donramiro and Bruscantini as Dandini. It was revived in 1953 (Edinburgh Festival), 1954 (Berlin), 1956 (Liverpool), 1959 and 1960 (Glyndebourne).
This series includes mounted colour set and costume designs and preliminary sketches. It is also made up of flat set model pieces, colour palettes and costume notes for La Cenerentola (Glyndebourne, 1952)
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/3/1 Sketches for costume designs for La Cenerentola (Glyndebourne, 1952)
5 folders, 67 items
ca.1952
Includes sketches and colour palettes. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.50-2006, S.52-2006, S.53-2006, S.54-2006, S.55-2006, S.46-2006, S.47-2006 and S.49-2006
THM/321/3/2 Large, mounted costume designs for La Cenerentola (Glyndebourne, 1952)
2 folders, 14 items
ca.1952
Includes large mounted designs with colour
THM/321/3/3 Sketches for set designs for La Cenerentola (Glyndebourne, 1952)
5 folders, 96 items
ca.1952
Includes sketches on tracing paper and paper. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.51-2006 and S.477-2006.
THM/321/3/4 Large set designs and flat parts of set models for La Cenerentola (Glyndebourne, 1952)
2 folders, 19 items
ca.1952
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.48-2006, S.476-2006 (ROT 383), S.479-2006, S.480-2006 and S.482-2006.

Costume and set designs for Le Comte Ory (Glyndebourne, 1954) , ca.1954
Reference: THM/321/4
Extent: 4 files
Le Comte Ory (1828), an opera in two acts composed by Rossini with a libretto by Scribe and Poirson. Oliver Messel’s production was first performed at the Edinburgh International Festival by the Glyndebourne Festival Society on 23 August, 1954. It was directed by Carl Ebert; choreography by Pauline Grant and featured Bruscantini as Raimbaud and Oncina as Count Ory. It was revived in 1955, 1957 and 1958 at Glyndebourne and in 1958 in Paris. Roger Pinkham has said of this production that “Messel concentrated on such designs as are found in the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, and in Flemish and Netherlandish painting.” (Pinkham, ed., 1983)
This series includes set, prop and costume designs, flat set model pieces, colour palettes and costume notes
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/4/1 Set and prop designs for Le Comte Ory (Glyndebourne, 1954)
3 folders, 32 items
ca.1954
Includes paintings and sketches of props and the set in addition to flat set model pieces. Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.66-2006
THM/321/4/2 Large, mounted costume designs for Le Comte Ory (Glyndebourne, 1954)
2 folders, 15 items
ca.1954
Includes some designs with fabric samples and costume notes
THM/321/4/3 Costume designs and sketches for Le Comte Ory (Glyndebourne, 1954)
4 folders, 44 items
ca.1954
Includes both sketches and finished designs, some of which come with notes and fabric samples. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.56-2006, S.58-2006, S.59-2006, S.60-2006, S.61-2006, S.62-2006, S.63-2006, S.64-2006 and S.65-2006
THM/321/4/4 Colour palettes for costume designs for Le Comte Ory (Glyndebourne, 1954)
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1954
Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.57-2006

Set designs for The Country Wife (Old Vic, 1936), ca.1936
Reference: THM/321/5
Extent: 1 file
The Country Wife is a comedy in three acts by William Wycherley. Oliver Messel’s first production was first performed at the Old Vic Theatre, London on 6 October 1936. It was produced by Lilian Baylis in association with Gilbert Miller and directed by Tyrone Guthrie. It featured Michael Redgrave as Horner and Edith Evans as Lady Fidget. It was also presented at the Henry Miller Theatre, New York , 1 December 1936.
This series includes a set design, set plan and two set model pieces.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/5/1 Ground plan of set, painted sketch of set for Mrs Pinchwife’s bedroom, and two painted cut-outs of fireplace wing and four-poster bed, for The Country Wife (Old Vic, 1936)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1936
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.67-2006 (ROT 627).

Costume and set designs for The Dark is Light Enough (Aldwych, 1954) , ca.1954
Reference: THM/321/6
Extent: 2 files
The Dark is Light Enough is a verse play in three acts by Christopher Fry. Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by H. M. Tennent Productions Ltd. on 30 April 1954 at the Aldwych Theatre, London. It was directed by Peter Brook with music by Leslie Bridgewater and featured Edith Evans as the Countess and James Donald as Gettner.
This series includes set and costume designs, set model pieces and costume notes with fabric samples
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/6/1 Costume designs for The Dark is Light Enough (Aldwych, 1954)
7 folders, 72 items
ca.1954
Includes designs in watercolour, pencil and charcoal along with some wardrobe notes. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.70-2006 (ROT 645), S.74-2006(ROT 655), S.71-2006 (ROT 656), S.72-2006 (ROT 657), S.73-2006 (ROT 659), S.76-2006 (ROT 683), S.69-2006 (ROT 643), S.68-2006 (ROT 634), S.75-2006 (ROT 679) and S.77-2006 (ROT 698)
THM/321/6/2 Set designs for The Dark is Light Enough (Aldwych, 1954)
2 folders, 13 items
ca.1954
Includes sketches, a stage plan and painted flat set model pieces

Costume and set designs for Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Glyndebourne, 1956), ca.1956
Reference: THM/321/7
Extent: 4 files
Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782), an opera in two acts by Mozart with libretto by Bretzner. Oliver Messel’s production was first performed by Glyndebourne Festival Opera at Glyndebourne on 10 June 1956; directed by Peter Ebert and featuring Ernst Häefliger as Belmonte and Arnold Van Mill as Osmin. It was revived at Glyndebourne in 1957 and 1961.
This series includes costume and set designs, sketches, costume and wardrobe notes, stage plans, designs on tracing paper.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/7/1 Two painted set borders, and three painted set designs on acetate for Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Glyndebourne, 1956)
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1956
THM/321/7/2 Stage plans for Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Glyndebourne, 1956)
1 folder, 14 items
ca.1956
Nine plans on tracing paper, and five dyeline photostats
THM/321/7/3 Sketches for stage designs, mainly on tracing paper and with notes on acts and scenes, for Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Glyndebourne, 1956)
2 folders, 115 items
ca.1956
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.78-2006 (ROT 716), S.79-2006 (ROT 707), S.80-2006 (ROT 718), S.82-2006 (ROT 713) and S.86-2006 (ROT 721)
THM/321/7/4 Costume sketches, in watercolour, pencil and charcoal, for Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Glyndebourne, 1956)
2 folders, 39 items
ca.1956
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.81-2006 (ROT 797), S.83-2006 (ROT 820), S.84-2006 (ROT 836) and S.85-2006 (ROT 843)

Set designs for Francesca da Rimini (Royal Opera House, 1937) , ca.1937
Reference: THM/321/8
Extent: 1 file
Francesca da Rimini, a symphonic fantasy by Tchaikovsky (1877) with libretto by David Lichine and Henry Clifford, drawn partly from Dante. Oliver Messel’s production was first performed by Col. W. de Basil’s Ballets Russes at the Royal Opera House on 15 July 1937. It ws choreographed by David Lichine and featuring Lubov Tchernicheva as Francesca, Paul Petroff as Paolo, and Marc Platoff as Malatesta. Also performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 24 October 1937. The costumes were made from Messel’s designs by Barbara Karinska, and the set designs were realised by Prince Schervachidze. These designs represent Messel’s first designs for a full ballet production.
This series includes set designs and flat set model pieces
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/8/1 Set designs and flat set model pieces for Francesca da Rimini (Royal Opera House, 1937)
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1937
Designs and pieces in colour. Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.87-2006

Costume designs for Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973), ca.1973
Reference: THM/321/9
Extent: 13 files
Gigi, a musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, adapted from a Colette novel of the same name (published 1944). Oliver Messel’s production was first presented by Arnold Saint-Subber and Edwin Lester at the Uris Theatre, New York on 13 November 1973. It was directed by Joseph Hardy and featured Danile Massey as Gaston Lachailles and Karin Wolfe as Gigi. It was also performed in 1973 at San Francisco, St. Louis, Detroit and Toronto. Roger Pinkham has said “The costumes are very much in the idiom of the turn of the century and are endlessly inventive bringing back much of the tenderness found in Renior and Bonnard.” (Pinkham, ed., 1983). Gigi was Messel’s last commission for the theatre.
This series includes costume designs and colour palettes
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/9/1 Costume designs for the lead character in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1973
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.89-2006 (ROT 910) and S.90-2006 (ROT 911)
THM/321/9/2 Costume designs for the character of Gaston in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1973
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.88-2006 (ROT 873) and S.95-2006 (ROT 948)
THM/321/9/3 Costume designs for the character of Honore in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1973
Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.94-2006 (ROT 942)
THM/321/9/4 Costume designs for the character of Mamita in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1973
THM/321/9/5 Costume designs for the character of Liane in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1973
THM/321/9/6 Costume designs for the character of Madame Lachailles in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1973
THM/321/9/7 Costume designs for the character of Aunt Alicia in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1973
THM/321/9/8 Costume designs for the characters of the bathers in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 9 items
ca.1973
THM/321/9/9 Costume designs, and sketches on tracing paper, for unidentified characters in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
2 folders, 19 items
ca.1973
THM/321/9/10 Costume designs, and colour palette, for scenes of Maxims in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 12 items
ca.1973
Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.91-2006 (ROT 925)
THM/321/9/11 Costume designs and colour sample for scenes of Trouville in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
2 folders, 18 items
ca.1973
Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.96-2006 (ROT 883)
THM/321/9/12 Costume designs for scenes of the Bois in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1973
Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.92-2006 (ROT 927)
THM/321/9/13 Costume designs for scenes of the Eiffel Tower in Gigi (Uris Theatre, New York, 1973)
1 folder, 10 items
ca.1973
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.93-2006 (ROT 936)

Set designs for Helen (Adelphi, 1932), ca.1932
Reference: THM/321/10
Extent: 1 file
Helen, an opera bouffé based on Offenbach’s operetta La Belle Hélène (1864) with libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by Charles B. Cochran at the Adelphi Theatre on 30 January 1932. It was directed by Max Reinhardt with choreography by Léonide Massine and featured Evelyn Laye as Helen and Bruce Carfax as Paris. Roger Pinkham has said of this production “Helen established Oliver Messel as the leading designer of the period and as regards future work he was home and dry.” (Pinkham, ed., 1983).
This series includes set designs only
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/10/1 Set design on tracing paper for the lead character’s bedroom, and painted cut-out of doorway, for Helen (Adelphi, 1932)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1932
Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.97-2006 (ROT 959)

Set and costume designs for Homage to the Queen (Royal Opera House, 1953), ca.1953
Reference: THM/321/11
Extent: 7 files
Homage to the Queen, a ballet in one act celebrating the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Oliver Messel’s production was first performed by the Sadler’s Well’s Ballet (now known as the Royal Ballet) at the Royal Opera House, London on 2 June 1953. It was choreographed by Frederick Ashton with music by Malcolm Arnold and featured Margot Fonteyn as The Queen of Air and Michael Somes as her Consort. It was also performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 18 September 1953 and Detroit, San Francisco and Brussels in 1958. Roger Pinkham has said of this production “the formal, courtly nature of the theme obviously suggested a Jacobean masque or court ballet.” (Pinkham, ed., 1983).
This series includes sketches and final works for costume and set designs, sketches of scenes, model set pieces, colour palettes and costume notes
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/11/1 Large sketches of costume designs for Homage to the Queen (Royal Opera House, 1953)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1953
Includes sketches and sketches with colour of costume parts
THM/321/11/2 Sketches of costume designs for Homage to the Queen (Royal Opera House, 1953)
2 folders, 54 items
ca.1953
Includes sketches of costumes and costume parts, costume notes and a colour palette
THM/321/11/3 Colour costume designs for Homage to the Queen (Royal Opera House, 1953)
2 folders, 31 items
ca.1953
Includes large mounted designs. Includes ietms catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.98-2006, S.99-2006, S.100-2006, S.101-2006, S.103-2006 and S.104-2006
THM/321/11/4 Sketches of set designs for Homage to the Queen (Royal Opera House, 1953)
2 folders, 23 items
ca.1953
Includes sketches on card, paper and tracing paper
THM/321/11/5 Colour set designs for Homage to the Queen (Royal Opera House, 1953)
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1953
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.102-2006, S.106-2006 and S.107-2006
THM/321/11/6 Sketches of figures and scenes on stage for Homage to the Queen (Royal Opera House, 1953)
1 folder, 13 items
ca.1953
Includes aketches of figures in scenes and scene notes
THM/321/11/7 Set model pieces for Homage to the Queen (Royal Opera House, 1953)
3 folders, 41 items
ca.1953
Includes stage plan and set model pieces. Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.105-2006

Set and costume designs for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954), ca.1954
Reference: THM/321/12
Extent: 24 files
The House of Flowers, a musical in two acts by Truman Capote set in a West Indies bordello. Oliver Messel’s production was first performed at the Alvin Theatre, New York on 30 December, 1954 and directed by Peter Brook. It was choreographed by Herbert Ross with music by Harold Arlen and featured Diahann Carroll as Ottilie and Pearl Bailey as Madame Fleur. Messel won an Antoinette Perry ‘Tony’ award in 1956 for his set designs.
This series includes set designs and set model pieces, sketches of costumes and final designs, colour palettes and costume and set notes
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/12/1 Costume designs for Madame Fleur in The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1954
Includes a fabric sample
THM/321/12/2 Costume designs for Pansy and Tulip in The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1954
Finished designs in colour with one fabric sample sheet. Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.110-2006
THM/321/12/3 Costume designs for Gladiola, Royal, The Chief of Police and Captain Jones in The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1954
Includes an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.109-2006
THM/321/12/4 Carnival costume designs for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 10 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/5 Carnival costume designs with headdresses for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
2 folders, 15 items
ca.1954
Includes designs on tracing paper, paper and acetate
THM/321/12/6 Costume designs for other characters in The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 14 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/7 Colour palettes for costume designs for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 9 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/8 Sketches of figures without costumes for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 11 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/9 Sketches for costume designs for named characters for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
2 folders, 16 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/10 Annotated sketches of costumes and costume pieces for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
2 folders, 17 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/11 Sketches for costume designs of unnamed characters for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
2 folders, 24 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/12 Large mounted sketches and fabric samples for costume designs for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/13 Large mounted costume designs for Tulip in The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/14 Large mounted costume designs for Pansy in The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1954
Includes an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.111-2006
THM/321/12/15 Large mounted costume designs for Ottiley in The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1954
Includes an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.112-2006
THM/321/12/16 Large mounted costume designs for Gladiola in The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1954
Includes an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.113-2006
THM/321/12/17 Large mounted carnival costume designs for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/18 Large mounted costume designs for other characters in The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
2 folders, 11 items
ca.1954
Includes a series of paintings of small figures
THM/321/12/19 Sketches on tracing paper for prop and set designs for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
3 folders, 44 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/20 Sketches on paper for prop and set designs for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
3 folders, 30 items
ca.1954
Includes fabric sample and notes on the designs. Includes an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.115-2006
THM/321/12/21 Prop and set designs for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
3 folders, 29 items
ca.1954
Includes an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.114-2006
THM/321/12/22 Set model pieces in acetate and painting on acetate for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 11 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/23 Set model pieces and backgrounds for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 13 items
ca.1954
THM/321/12/24 Boards with sketches for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1954

Costume and set designs for Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, 1951), ca.1951
Reference: THM/321/13
Extent: 5 files
Idomeneo (1781), an opera in three acts by Mozart with libretto by Varesco. Oliver Messel’s production was first performed at Glyndebourne by Glyndebourne Festival Opera on 15 June, 1951. It was directed by Carl Ebert with choreography by Sigurd Leeder and featured Richard Lewis as Idomeneo and Sena Jurinac as Ilia. This was the first time this production was staged in England. It was revived in 1952, 1956, 1959 and 1964 at Glydenbourne; and in 1953 at the Edinburgh Festival.
This series includes costume sketches and designs, colour palettes, set designs and flat set model pieces
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/13/1 Sketches of costume designs for Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, 1951)
2 folders, 23 items
ca.1951
Includes costume notes and some fabric samples. Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.125-2006
THM/321/13/2 Colour palettes for designs for Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, 1951)
2 folders, 20 items
ca.1951
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.119-2006 (ROT 1467).
THM/321/13/3 Colour costume designs for Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, 1951)
4 folders, 47 items
ca.1951
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.120-2006, S.121-2006, S.122-2006 and S.123-2006
THM/321/13/4 Set and prop designs for Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, 1951)
2 folders, 15 items
ca.1951
Includes sketches and colour designs. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.127-2006, S.126-2006, S.117-2006, S.116-2006 and S.118-2006.
THM/321/13/5 Set model pieces for Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, 1951)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1951

Costume designs for The Lady’s not for Burning (Globe, 1949), ca.1949
Reference: THM/321/14
Extent: 2 files
The Lady’s not for Burning, a verse play in three acts by Christopher Fry. Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by H. M. Tennent Productions Ltd. at the Globe Theatre, London on 11 May, 1949. It was directed by John Gielgud and Esmé Percy and featured John Gielgud as Thomas Mendip, Pamel Brown as Jennet Jourdemayne, Claire Bloom as Alizon Eliot and Richard Burton as Richard. It was also performed at the Royale Theatre, New York, on 8 November, 1950.
This series consists largely of costume designs and sketches, with some colour palettes, a stage ground plan, and notes on accessories
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/14/1 Costume and jewellery sketches in charcoal, pencil and ink, with colour palettes, for The Lady’s not for Burning (Globe, 1949)
9 folders, 75 items
ca.1949
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers: S.128-2006 (ROT 1617), S.129-2006 (ROT 1623), S.130-2006 (ROT 1624), S.134-2006 (ROT 1638), S.135-2006 (ROT 1696), S.184-2006 (ROT 1658) and S.136-2006 (ROT 1707)
THM/321/14/2 Backboard with pencil sketches, annotated typescript of props and accessories, stage ground plan, and five large costume sketches, for The Lady’s not for Burning (Globe, 1949)
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1949
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers: S.132-2006 (ROT 1629) and S.133-2006 (ROT 1630)

Costume and set designs for Letter from Paris (Aldwych, 1952), ca.1952
Reference: THM/321/15
Extent: 2 files
Letter from Paris, a play by Dodie Smith adapted from a novel by Henry James, The Reverberator (1908). Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by H. M. Tennent Productions Ltd. at the Aldwych Theatre, London on 10 October, 1952. It was directed by Peter Glenville with music by Ronald Emanuel and featured Brenda Bruce as Francis Dosson and Nicholas Phipps as Charles Waterlow.
This series includes costume and set designs, fabric samples and colour palettes.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/15/1 Costume designs for Letter from Paris (Aldwych, 1952) Sketches and finished designs, colour pallets and fabric samples
4 folders, 47 items
ca.1952
On paper and tracing paper. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference number S. 143-2006 (ROT 1600), S. 144-2006 (ROT 1601), S. 142-2006 (ROT 1589), S. 140-2006 (ROT 1576), S. 139-2006 (ROT 1573), S. 138-2006 (ROT 1572), S. 141-2006 (ROT 1588)
THM/321/15/2 Set designs for Letter from Paris (Aldwych, 1952) Painted sketch of arch for stage backdrop, and four annotated backboards
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1952
Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S. 137-2006 (ROT 1569)

Set and costume designs for The Little Hut (Lyric, 1953), ca.1953
Reference: THM/321/16
Extent: 4 files
The Little Hut, a play adapted by Nancy Mitford from the light comedy by André Roussin. Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by H. M. Tennent Productions Ltd. at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London on 7 October, 1953. It was directed by Peter Brook and featured Joan Tetzel as Susan and David Tomlinson as Henry. It was also performed at the Coronet Theatre, New York on 7 October 1953. Roger Pinkham has said of this production “The set of The Little Hut, exotically fruited, and ideally over-run with vegetation, made an ideal and highly praised setting for the slender story of husband, wife and lover wrecked on a desert island." (Pinkham, ed., 1983).
This series includes ground plans, set designs, costume designs and sketches
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/16/1 Costume designs for The Little Hut (Lyric, 1953) including rough sketches of head-dresses and braiding
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1953
THM/321/16/2 Set designs for The Little Hut (Lyric, 1953) sketches of jungle scenes and individual pieces
2 folders, 14 items
ca.1953
This file includes sketches in pencil and colour on paper and board
THM/321/16/3 Set designs for beach and sea scenes and individual pieces for The Little Hut (Lyric, 1953)
2 folders, 5 items
ca.1953
Sketches on paper, charcoal and wash designs on board. Contains S.145-2006 (ROT 1557)
THM/321/16/4 Set designs for The Little Hut (Lyric, 1953) ground plans for the stage
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1953

Costume and set designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956), ca. 1947-ca. 1956
Reference: THM/321/17
Extent: 10 files
The Magic Flute (1791), an opera in two acts by Mozart with libretto by Schikaneder from Christoph Martin Wieland’s Lulu, or, The Magic Flute. Oliver Messel’s production was first performed at the Royal Opera House, London, by the Covent Garden Opera Trust on 20 March 1947. It was directed by Malcolm Baker-Smith and featured Kenneth Neafe as Tamino and Victoria Sladen as Pamina. This was the first opera that Messel designed. Messel created new costume and set designs for a Glyndebourne production, first presented 19 July, 1956. Directed by Carl Ebert, Ernst Häefliger played Tamino, Pilar Lorengar was Pamina and Drago Bernardic was Sarastro.
This series includes costume and set designs, sketches, model set pieces, colour palettes and fabric samples. Inscriptions on some of the designs and evidence from images of his designs elsewhere in the Theatre Museum’s collections indicate that most items relate to the 1956 Glyndebourne production.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/17/1 Costume designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) Finished designs in watercolour
5 folders, 34 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference number S. 349-2006 (ROT 1883), S. 155-2006 (ROT 1981), S. 158-2006 (ROT 1950), S. 157-2006 (ROT 1948), S. 159-2006 (ROT 1947), S. 160-2006 (ROT 1898), S. 161-2006 (ROT 1887),S. 156-2006 (ROT 1982),S. 147-2006 (ROT 1949), S. 154-2006 (ROT 1952)
THM/321/17/2 Costume designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) Colour palettes and fabric samples
1 folder, 7 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956
Colour palettes, fabric samples and annotated sketches
THM/321/17/3 Costume designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) Sketches
4 folders, 28 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956
Charcoal sketches
THM/321/17/4 Costume designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) oversized
1 folder, 16 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956
Oversize sketches and finished designs. Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference number S. 472-2006 (ROT 1990), S. 153-2006 (ROT 1972), S. 150-2006 (ROT 1754), S. 473-2006 (ROT 1974)
THM/321/17/5 Set designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) Designs and sketches on tracing paper
6 folders, 89 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956
Includes item catalogued on CIS reference number S. 471-2006 (ROT 1774), 1760 = oversize
THM/321/17/6 Set designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) Painted designs on acetate
1 folder, 6 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956
THM/321/17/7 Set designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) Model set pieces and large sketch on canvas
5 folders, 35 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956
Cut out model set pieces, borders, flat models for set design and large impressionistic sketch on canvas. Includes item catalogued on CIS reference number S. 474-2006 (ROT 1957)
THM/321/17/8 Set designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) Painted set and backcloth designs
3 folders, 36 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference number S. 475-2006 (ROT 1958), S. 151-2006 (ROT 1953), S. 470-2006 (ROT 1811), S. 152-2006 (ROT 1968), S. 148-2006 (ROT 1747), S. 149-2006 (1752). ROT 1752 and 1745 = oversized
THM/321/17/9 Set designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) Prop designs on tracing paper
1 folder, 10 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956
THM/321/17/10 Set designs for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956) Sketches and designs on paper
2 folders, 17 items
ca. 1947-ca. 1956

Set and costume designs for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Old Vic, 1937), ca.1937
Reference: THM/321/18
Extent: 2 files
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy in five acts by William Shakespeare (ca. 1595). Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by Bruce D. Worsley at the Old Vic Theatre, London on 27 December 1937. It was directed by Tyrone Guthrie with music by Mendelssohn and choreography by Ninette de Valois. It featured Vivien Leigh as Titania and Robert Helpmann as Oberon.
This series includes set designs, costume designs, sketches and one reference print
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/18/1 Costume designs for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Old Vic, 1937)
2 folders, 18 items
ca.1937
This file includes impressionistic sketches of figures and costumes, and one finished design in colour. Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.163-2006 (ROT 2156) and S.162-2006 (ROT 2147)
THM/321/18/2 Set designs for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Old Vic, 1937)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1937
This file includes two detailed sketches in pencil, one colour design and one reference print

Set and costume designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions), ca.1955
Reference: THM/321/19
Extent: 13 files
Le Nozze di Figaro (1786), an opera in four acts by Mozart with libretto by da Ponte, from Beaumarchais’ La folle journée, ou, Le Marriage de Figaro (1778). Oliver Messel’s production was first performed by the Glyndebourne Festival Opera at Glyndebourne on 8 June, 1955. It was directed by Carl Ebert and featured Bruscantini as Figaro and Elena Rizzieri as Susanna. It was revived at Glyndebourne in 1956, 1958, 1962, 1963 and 1965.
This series includes set designs, costume designs, sketches, colour pallets, fabric swatches and set pieces
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/19/1 Costume designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): costume designs and sketches for Susannah
2 folders, 10 items
ca.1955
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.174-2006 (ROT 2077), S.172-2006 (ROT 2000) and S.168-2006 (ROT 2137)
THM/321/19/2 Costume designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): costume designs and sketches for Figaro, Don Basilo and The Count
1 folder, 12 items
ca.1955
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.173-2006 (ROT 2048), S.170-2006 (ROT 2017), S.183-2006 (ROT 2038) and S.177-2006 (ROT 2020)
THM/321/19/3 Costume designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): costume designs, sketches and swatches for Barbaro, Cherubino, Chensino, Barbarina, Gardener, Magistrate and Attendant
1 folder, 12 items
ca.1955
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.171-2006 (ROT 2035)
THM/321/19/4 Costume designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): costume designs and sketches for Marcellina and The Countess
1 folder, 9 items
ca.1955
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.166-2006 (ROT 2046), S.175-2006 (ROT 2083)
THM/321/19/5 Costume designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): costume designs, sketches and swatches for unidentified characters
1 folder, 9 items
ca.1955
THM/321/19/6 Costume designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): colour pallets, individual pieces and fabric swatches
1 folder, 12 items
ca.1955
Includes annotated details, pencil and colour on paper and tracing paper
THM/321/19/7 Costume designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): rough sketches, annotations and swatches on board
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1955
Includes pieces of very rough design work
THM/321/19/8 Set designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): sketches of sets, individual pieces and notes on each act
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1955
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.169-2006 (ROT 2142)
THM/321/19/9 Set designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): set designs on tracing paper for Acts I, II and III
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1955
THM/321/19/10 Set designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): set designs and detailed plans for set pieces on tracing paper
1 folder, 15 items
ca.1955
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.176-2006 (ROT 2095)
THM/321/19/11 Set designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions sketches of tree and lantern
1 folders, 3 items
ca.1955
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.167-2006 (ROT 2105)
THM/321/19/12 Set designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): flat cut-out set model pieces and borders
2 folders, 12 items
ca.1955
THM/321/19/13 Set designs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne, 1955 and revisions): flat cut-out set model pieces – gauzes and set pieces
2 folders, 10 items
ca.1955
Includes itmes catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.164-2006 (ROT 2096:1) and S.165-2006 (ROT 2098)

Set and costume designs for The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House, 1950), ca.1950
Reference: THM/321/21
Extent: 7 files
The Queen of Spades (1890), an opera by Tchaikovsky with libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky from a short story by Alexander Pushkin. Presented by the Covent Garden Opera at the Royal Opera House, London on 21 December, 1950. It was directed by Michael Benthall and featured Edgar Evans as Herman and Jess Walters as Yeletsky. It was revived at the Royal Opera House, London, in 1956.
This series includes sketches and final designs for costumes, set model pieces and set designs
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/21/1 Small costume designs in colour for The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House, 1950)
3 folders, 32 item
ca.1950
Includes an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.181-2006
THM/321/21/2 Preliminary sketches for costume designs for The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House, 1950)
2 folders, 13 items
ca.1950
Includes sketches with and without colour and some with colour palettes. Includes an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.185-2006
THM/321/21/3 Large colour costume designs for male characters in The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House, 1950)
2 folder, 20 items
ca.1950
Includes a fabric sample and an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.182-2006
THM/321/21/4 Large colour costume designs for female characters in The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House, 1950)
4 folders, 44 items
ca.1950
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.178-2006, S.179-2006, S.180-2006, S.186-2006, S.187-2006 and S.188-2006
THM/321/21/5 Small flat set model pieces for The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House, 1950)
3 folders, 27 items
ca.1950
Includes pieces made from card and acetate
THM/321/21/6 Large flat set model pieces for The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House, 1950)
3 folders, 21 items
ca.1950
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.193-2006 and S.194-2006
THM/321/21/7 Set and prop designs for The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House, 1950)
2 folders, 11 items
ca.1950
Includes card designs for the backdrop of the set and a technical drawing on tracing paper. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.189-2006, S.190-2006, S.191-2006 and S.192-2006

Costume and set deigns for Rashomon (Music Box, 1959), ca.1959
Reference: THM/321/22
Extent: 2 files
Rashomon, a play in two acts by Faye and Michael Kanin and adapted from Akira Kurosawa's film (1950) of the same name which in turn was based on a story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1915). Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by David Susskind and Hardy Smith at the Music Box, New York on 27 January 1959. It was directed by Peter Glenville with music by Laurence Rosenthal and featured Claire Bloom, Noel Willman and Rod Steiger. Messel won an Antoinette Perry ‘Tony’ award for his set designs in 1959.
This series includes set designs, costume designs and sketches of characters for Rashomon (Music Box, 1959)
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/22/1 Costume sketches and designs for Rashomon (Music Box, 1959)
3 folders, 31 items
ca.1959
Includes head and shoulder portrait sketches of characters. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.248-2006, S.249-2006, S.251-2006, S.252-2006 and S.253-2006
THM/321/22/2 Set and prop sketches and designs for Rashomon (Music Box, 1959)
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1959
Includes a technical drawing as well as watercolours on paper and sketches on tracing paper. Includes an item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.250-2006

Costume and set designs for Ring Round the Moon (Globe, 1950) , ca.1950
Reference: THM/321/23
Extent: 5 files
Ring Round the Moon, a charade with music in three acts by Christopher Fry, adapted from Jean Anouilh’s L’Invitation au Château. Oliver Messel’s production first produced by H. M. Tennent Productions Ltd. at the Globe Theatre, London, on 26 January 1950. It was directed by Peter Brook with music by Richard Addinsell and dances arranged by William Chappell. It featured Paul Scofield as Hugo and Frederic and Claire Bloom as Isabelle. It was also performed at the Martin Bech Theatre, New York on 23 November, 1951 and the Folkes Theatre, Copenhagen under the title Dans under Stjernerne. [August 1950].
This series includes costume sketches and designs and set designs on tracing paper, acetate and card
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/23/1 Colour costume designs for Ring Round the Moon (Globe, 1950)
4 folders, 44 items
ca.1950
Includes some fabric samples and designs on both paper and tracing paper
THM/321/23/2 Sketched costume designs for Ring Round the Moon (Globe, 1950)
2 folders, 26 items
ca.1950
Includes colour palette
THM/321/23/3 Sketches of head and shoulder portraits of characters in Ring Round the Moon (Globe, 1950)
2 folders, 16 items
ca.1950
Includes illustrations showing head wear and hair styles
THM/321/23/4 Set and prop designs on paper and acetate for Ring Round the Moon (Globe, 1950)
2 folders, 18 items
ca.1950
Includes some flat set model pieces. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.254-2006 and S.255-2006
THM/321/23/5 Set and backcloth designs and sketches on tracing paper for Ring Round the Moon (Globe, 1950)
1 folder, 17 items
ca.1950
Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number S.256-2006

Set designs for The Rivals (Criterion, 1945), ca.1945
Reference: THM/321/24
Extent: 3 files
The Rivals, a comedy in five acts by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1775). Oliver Messel’s production first produced by H. M. Tennent Productions Ltd. And C.E.M.A. at the Criterion Theatre, London on 24 September, 1945. It was directed by William Armstrong and Edith Evans with assistance from Tyrone Guthrie. It featured Edith Evans as Mrs. Malaprop and Anthony Quayle as Captain Absolute.
Although Messel designed the costume and sets, this series consists of set model pieces only.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/24/1 Painted cut-outs of figures and furniture for set model for The Rivals (Criterion, 1945)
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1945
THM/321/24/2 Stage and scenery designs on tracing paper for The Rivals (Criterion, 1945)
1 folder, 17 items
ca.1945
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.257-2006 (ROT 2461).
THM/321/24/3 Stage and scenery designs, cut-outs and painted sketches of backcloths for The Rivals (Criterion, 1945)
1 folder, 13 items
ca.1945
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.259-2006 (ROT 2480) and S.258-2006 (ROT 2469).

Costume designs for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951), ca.1951
Reference: THM/321/25
Extent: 10 files
Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy in five acts by William Shakespeare (ca. 1594). Oliver Messel’s production first produced by Dwight Deere Wiman at the Broadhurst Theatre, New York on 10 March, 1951. It was directed by Peter Glenville and featured Olivia de Havilland as Juliet and Douglas Watson as Romeo. This was Messel’s first work to be initiated on Broadway.
This series consists of costume designs and sketches and also includes fabric samples, colour palette, sketches for masks, a set model piece, cast lists and reference material.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/25/1 Sketch designs of costume details, accessories and gauze on tracing paper for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1951
THM/321/25/2 Mounted colour costume dsigns for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951), some with fabric samples attached and some with notes on reverse of backboard
1 folder, 21 items
ca.1951
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.352-2006 (ROT 2567), S.353-2006 (ROT 2569) and S.354-2006 (ROT 2571).
THM/321/25/3 Impressionistic sketches in charcoal for set design of Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1951
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.347-2006 (ROT 2652) and S.348-2006 (ROT 2653).
THM/321/25/4 Manuscript and typescript wardrobe notes and working papers for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1951
THM/321/25/5 Photographic reproductions used as references for costume design for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1951
THM/321/25/6 Sketch designs of costume details, accessories and props, with one colour palette, for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
1 folder, 57 items
ca.1951
THM/321/25/7 Colour costume designs for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951), some with fabric samples
1 folder, 67 items
ca.1951
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.350-2006 (ROT 2617), S.351-2006 (ROT 2561), S.355-2006 (ROT 2575), S.356-2006 (ROT 2594), S.357-2006 (ROT 2595), S.358-2006 (ROT 2607) and S.359-2006 (ROT 2638).
THM/321/25/8 Preliminary sketches for costume designs for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951), some with fabric samples
1 folder, 12 items
ca.1951
THM/321/25/9 Floor plan on tracing paper for set model for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951), with three set design sketches on paper
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1951
THM/321/25/10 Painted backdrop scroll for for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1951

Costume and set designs for Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959), ca.1959
Reference: THM/321/26
Extent: 14 files
Der Rosenkavalier (1909-1910), an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss with libretto by Hugo von Hofsmannsthal. Oliver Messel’s production was first performed by the Glyndebourne Festival Opera at Glyndebourne on 28 May, 1959. It was directed by Carl Ebert and featured Elisabeth Söderström as Octavian, Regine Crespin as the Marschallin and Anneliese Rothenberger as Sophie. It was revived at Glyndebourne in 1960 and 1965. This was Messel’s last production for Glyndebourne.
This series consists of costume and set designs, including set designs on tracing paper fragments, as well as set model pieces, ground plans, fabric samples and notes.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/26/1 Costume designs and sketches for the characters Octavian and Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 9 items
ca.1959
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.265-2006 (ROT 2840), S.269-2006 (ROT 2858) and S.268-2006 (ROT 2852).
THM/321/26/2 Costume designs and sketches, and a colour swatch, for the characters Baron Ochs, the Lawyer’s Clerk, the Chief of Police, the French Millener, the Field Marshall, Annina and Major Domo, in Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1959
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.274-2006 (ROT 2837) and S.264-2006 (ROT 2838).
THM/321/26/3 Costume designs and sketches for the characters of the servants, musicians and ruffians in Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
2 folder, 16 items
ca.1959
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.261-2006 (ROT 2802), S.263-2006 (ROT 2835), S.272-2006 (ROT 2850), S.273-2006 (ROT 2854) and S.266-2006 (ROT 2841).
THM/321/26/4 Large costume designs and sketches for the characters of Baron Ochs, Leopold, Annina, Sophie and Valzaichietti in Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1959
THM/321/26/5 Large costume designs and sketches for the characters of the Widow, the Ouenna, the Animal Vendor, the Inn Keeper, the Philosopher, the Lawyer and Faninal, in Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1959
THM/321/26/6 Large costume designs and sketches for the characters of the maids, hairdressers, orphans and the French Millener in Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1959
THM/321/26/7 Large costume designs and sketches for the characters of the servants in Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1959
THM/321/26/8 Small set designs on tracing paper for Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 17 items
ca.1959
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.484-2006 (ROT 2881).
THM/321/26/9 Set designs on tracing paper for Act I of Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1959
THM/321/26/10 Set designs on tracing paper for Acts II and III of Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1959
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.270-2006 (ROT 2866).
THM/321/26/11 Large set designs on tracing paper for Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
2 folders, 24 items
ca.1959
THM/321/26/12 Stage floorplans on tracing paper for Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1959
Outsize folder
THM/321/26/13 Set designs for chair, rugs and panelling, in pencil and watercolour, for Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1959
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.260-2006 (ROT 2801), S.262-2006 (ROT 2830), S.267-2006 (ROT 2842) and S.483-2006 (ROT 2868).
THM/321/26/14 Cut-outs for set design of Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
1 folder, 9 items
ca.1959
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.271-2006 (ROT 2807:1)

Costume and set designs for Samson (Royal Opera House, 1958), ca.1958
Reference: THM/321/27
Extent: 5 files
Samson (1743), an oratorio by Handel with libretto by Newburgh Hamilton from John Milton’s Samson Agonistes (1671). Presented at the Royal Opera House, London by the Covent Garden Opera on 15 November, 1958, to celebrate the bicentenary of Handel’s death. There were some performances at the Leeds Festival in October 1957. It was directed by Hubert Graf with choreography by Meriel Evans and featured Jon Vickers as Samson and Elisabeth Lindermeier as Dalilah.
This series consists of costume and set designs and sketches and also includes set model pieces, production notes, and colour palettes.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/27/1 Impressionistic sketches for set and prop designs for Samson (Royal Opera House, 1958)
2 folders, 26 items
ca.1958
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.283-2006 (ROT 2981), S.282-2006 (ROT 2974), S.281-2006 (ROT 2973), S.280-2006 (ROT 2972), S.287-2006 (ROT 2986), S.277-2006 (ROT 2969) and S.288-2006 (ROT 3002)
THM/321/27/2 Manuscript production notes, and two colour palettes, for Samson (Royal Opera House, 1958)
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1958
THM/321/27/3 Set designs on tracing paper for Samson (Royal Opera House, 1958)
1 folder, 22 items
ca.1958
THM/321/27/4 Costume designs in watercolour and charcoal, some mounted, for Samson (Royal Opera House, 1958)
3 folders, 46 items
ca.1958
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.289-2006 (ROT 2996), S.278-2006 (ROT 2995), S.279-2006 (ROT 2997), S.275-2006 (ROT 2935), S.276-2006 (ROT 3000), S.290-2006 (ROT 2968), S.291-2006 (ROT 2933), S.286-2006 (ROT 3001), S.285-2006 (ROT 2999) and S.284-2006 (ROT 2987)
THM/321/27/5 Painted backcloth models and cut-outs for set design of Samson (Royal Opera House, 1958)
1 folders, 15 items
ca.1958
Outsize folder

Costume and set designs for The School for Scandal (Det Ny Theatre, Copenhagen, 1958), ca.1958
Reference: THM/321/28
Extent: 7 files
The School for Scandal (1777), a play in five acts by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Oliver Messel’s production was first performed at the Det Ny Theatre, Copenhagen, 19 September 1958. It was directed by Sam Besekow and featured Bodil Kjer as Lady Teazle and Olaf Ussing as Sir Oliver Surface.
This series consists of costume and set designs as well as sketches, ground plans, set sketches on tracing paper fragments, fabric samples and notes.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/28/1 Costume, wig and scenery designs on paper, in pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and charcoal, for The School for Scandal (Det Ny Theatre, Copenhagen, 1958), some with swatches
10 folders, 91 items
ca.1958
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.311-2006 (ROT 3044), S.306-2006 (ROT 3070), S.308-2006 (ROT 3090), S.307-2006 (ROT 3096), S.309-2006 (ROT 3108), S.294-2006 (ROT 3175), S.295-2006 (ROT 3176), S.296-2006 (ROT 3177), S.297-2006 (ROT 3178), S.298-2006 (ROT 3180), and S.302-2006 (ROT 3193).
THM/321/28/2 Large costume and wig designs on paper, in pencil and watercolour, for The School for Scandal (Det Ny Theatre, Copenhagen, 1958), some mounted with manuscript notes
1 folder, 26 items
ca.1958
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.300-2006 (ROT 3190), S.301-2006 (ROT 3191) and S.299-2006 (ROT 3187).
THM/321/28/3 Designs for flowered panel and projections for The School for Scandal (Det Ny Theatre, Copenhagen, 1958)
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1958
THM/321/28/4 Dyeline floor plans for set of The School for Scandal (Det Ny Theatre, Copenhagen, 1958)
1 folder, 10 items
ca.1958
THM/321/28/5 Stage and scenery designs on tracing paper for The School for Scandal (Det Ny Theatre, Copenhagen, 1958)
1 folder, 26 items
ca.1958
THM/321/28/6 Stage and scenery designs, cut-outs and painted sketches for backcloths, for The School for Scandal (Det Ny Theatre, Copenhagen, 1958)
2 folders, 27 items
ca.1958
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.292-2006 (ROT 3133), S.293-2006 (ROT 3137), S.310-2006 (ROT 3205), S.304-2006 (ROT 3202), S.303-2006 (ROT 3196) and S.305-2006 (ROT 3204).
THM/321/28/7 Detail sketch of fire grate in Lady Sneerwell’s room in The School for Scandal (Det Ny Theatre, Copenhagen, 1958)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1958

Costume and set designs for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946), ca. 1946-ca. 1960
Reference: THM/321/29
Extent: 14 files
Sleeping Beauty (1888), a ballet composed by Tchaikovsky with libretto by Marius Petipa and Ivan Vsevolojsky after the fairy tale by Charles Perrault (1697). Choreography by Marius Petipa. Oliver Messel’s production first performed by the Sadlers Wells Ballet at the Royal Opera House, London on 20 February 1946. It was produced by Nicholai Sergeyev and has additional choreography by Frederick Ashton and Ninette de Valois. It featured Margot Fonteyn as Princess Aurora and Robert Helpmann and David Paltenghi as Prince Florimund.
It was also performed on 9 October, 1946 at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. It was revived on 14 September, 1950 at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York and at the Royal Opera House in 1952, 1956, 1958 and 1960. Roger Pinkham said of this production “The Sleeping Beauty was to be Messel’s biggest and most enduring production … The production was performed nearly one thousand one hundred and fifty times, from London to Los Angeles, from Leeds to Leningrad, becoming the Company’s ‘signature ballet’.” (Pinkham, ed., 1983).
This series consists of costume and set designs, set model pieces, sketches, costume notes, set designs on paper, board and tracing paper, stage plans and prop lists. Messel revised the production over a number of years, and in many cases it is not possible to know whether a design was produced for the 1946 production or a later revival.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/29/1 Prop designs on paper, in pencil and pen and ink, for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1946
THM/321/29/2 Painted designs for a bed and trees on acetate for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1946
THM/321/29/3 Press cutting from supplement to The Illustrated London News, and photocopied press cuttings with photographs of set of Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 5 items
1960 Mar 26-[n.d.
THM/321/29/4 Dyeline floor plans for 1958 and 1960 revivals of Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 12 items
1958 June-1960 Jan
THM/321/29/5 Set and scenery designs on tracing paper, and photostats of set and scenery designs on tracing paper, for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 36 items
ca.1946
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.417-2006 (ROT 3309).
THM/321/29/6 Painted sketches for set design and backcloths, on paper and board, for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 19 items
ca.1946
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.20-2006 (ROT 3320), S.418-2006 (ROT 3326), S.520-2006 (ROT 3271), S.519-2006 (ROT 3273) and S.518-2006 (ROT 3274).
THM/321/29/7 Painted cut-outs for set design for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 12 items
ca.1946
THM/321/29/8 Large set designs for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946), including sketches on tracing paper, photostats of sketches on tracing paper, two framed sketches, painted sketches for scenery and backcloths, and painted cut-outs
2 folders, 26 items
ca.1946
Oversize box (white) and separate folder for ROT 3332 and S.224-2006. File includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.22-2006 (ROT 3328), S.21-2006 (ROT 3322), S.24-2006 (ROT 9029), S.223-2006 (ROT 3327), S.19-2006 (ROT 3318), S.23-2006 (ROT 3330), S.416-2006 (ROT 3229) and S.224-2006 (unknown ROT number).
THM/321/29/9 Costume designs in pencil, pen and ink and watercolour, for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
6 folders, 27 items
ca.1946
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.459-2006 (ROT 3254), S.458-2006 (ROT 3423), S.10-2006 (ROT 3342), S.16-2006 (3422) and S.457-2006 (ROT 3425).
THM/321/29/10 Large costume designs, some mounted and one with swatches, for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
3 folders, 62 items
ca.1946
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.422-2006 (ROT 3235), S.5-2006 (ROT 3237), S.467-2006 (ROT 3239), S.466-2006 (ROT 3241), S.465-2006 (ROT 3242), S.464-2006 (ROT 3244), S.469-2006 (ROT 3246), S.6-2006 (ROT 3268), S.420-2006 (ROT 3343), S.423-2006 (ROT 3345), S.12-2006 (ROT 3346), S.419-2006 (ROT 3347), S.461-2006 (ROT 3348), S.460-2006 (ROT 3349), S.13-2006 (ROT 3350), S.14-2006 (ROT 3352), S.15-2006 (ROT 3240), S.424-2006 (ROT 3376), S.9-2006 (ROT 3379), S.421-2006 (ROT 3393), S.17-2006 (ROT 3453), S.463-2006 (ROT 3454), S.426-2006 (ROT 3455), S.429-2006 (ROT 3464), S.468-2006 (ROT 3466), S.427-2006 (ROT 3467), S.18-2006 (ROT 3468), S.462-2006 (ROT 3469), S.428-2006 (ROT 3476), S.456-2006 (ROT 3478), S.425-2006 (ROT 3479), S.7-2006 (ROT 3316), and S.8-2006 (ROT 3317).
THM/321/29/11 Impressionistic sketches on paper for costume and scenery designs for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946), mainly in charcoal but with some in watercolour
1 folder, 29 items
ca.1946
THM/321/29/12 Impressionistic sketches on tracing paper for costume and scenery for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946), mainly in pen and ink
1 folder, 32 items
ca.1946
THM/321/29/13 Manuscript and typescript notes relating to Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946), including lists of characters, costumes and props, with one colour palette
1 folder, 8 items
ca. 1946-1960 Apr 11
THM/321/29/14 Large, framed, painted backdrop for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1946
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.25-2006 (no ROT number visible).

Costume and set designs and other papers for The Sleeping Princess (Metropolitan Opera House, 1976), ca.1976
Reference: THM/321/30
Extent: 4 files
Designs by Oliver Messel for The Sleeping Princess (i.e. Sleeping Beauty, Tchaikovsky, 1888). The designs probably relate to the American Ballet Theatre version of Sleeping Beauty performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York on 15 June, 1976. This production featured costume and set designs reworked from Messel’s designs for the Sadlers Wells Ballet production of Sleeping Beauty performed at the Covent Garden Opera House in 1946.
This series consists of costume designs and sketches, some set designs and other papers.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/30/1 Costume and set designs on paper, in pencil, pen and ink, charcoal and oil, for The Sleeping Princess (Metropolitan Opera House, 1976)
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1976
THM/321/30/2 Costume designs, and a design for a leaf, on tracing paper for The Sleeping Princess (Metropolitan Opera House, 1976), some mounted
1 folder, 27 items
ca.1976
THM/321/30/3 Papers relating to The Sleeping Princess (Metropolitan Opera House, 1976), including manuscript costume notes, a typescript list of costume designs for exhibition, a press cutting from the New York Times, and a typescript letter from Margit Brandt
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1976
THM/321/30/4 Painted piece of set model for The Sleeping Princess (Metropolitan Opera House, 1976)
1 folder, 1 item
undated

Costume and set designs for Tough at the Top (Adelphi, 1949), ca.1949
Reference: THM/321/31
Extent: 5 files
Tough at the Top, a musical play by A. P. Herbert with music by Vivian Ellis about a Ruritanian Princess falling in love with an American boxer. Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by C. B. Cochran at the Adelphi Theatre, London on 15 July, 1949. It was directed by Wendy Toye and featured Maria D’Attili as Princess Philomel and Peter Lupino as Charles Lupin.
This series mainly consists of costume designs and set sketches.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/31/1 Impressionistic sketches in watercolour for stage design of Tough at the Top (Adelphi, 1949)
1 folder, 10 items
ca.1949
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.312-2006 (ROT 3644)
THM/321/31/2 Fabric samples and character labels for Tough at the Top (Adelphi, 1949)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1949
THM/321/31/3 Sketches for stage design, with one sketch for poster design, of Tough at the Top (Adelphi, 1949)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1949
THM/321/31/4 Costume designs in charcoal and watercolour, with one colour palette, for Tough at the Top (Adelphi, 1949)
1 folder, 59 items
ca.1949
THM/321/31/5 Large costume designs in charcoal and watercolour, some mounted, for Tough at the Top (Adelphi, 1949)
1 folder, 30 items
ca.1949
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.313-2006 (ROT 3616), S.314-2006 (ROT 3619), S.315-2006 (ROT 3632), S.316-2006 (ROT 3637) and S.317-2006 (ROT 3638)

Costume and set designs for Traveller without Luggage (ANTA Theatre, New York, 1964), ca.1964
Reference: THM/321/32
Extent: 6 files
Traveller without Luggage, a play by Jean Anouilh (1937) about a former solider and amnesiac man in a mental hospital who is claimed by two families as their son. Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by Materson and Twain at the ANTA Theatre, New York on 18 September, 1964. It was directed by Robert Lewis and featured Ben Gazzara as Gaston and Mildred Dunnock as Madame Renaud. Roger Pinkham has said of this production “Messel’s sets of the interior of one of those semi-delapidated French provincial houses, where fashion scarcely changed until after the Second War, were felt to be evocative, and of its major distinctions.” (Pinkham, ed., 1983).
This series consists of costume and set designs, set model pieces, fabric samples, ground plans and scaled drawings.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/32/1 Scale ground and elevation plans, in dyeline and on tracing paper, for set design of Traveller without Luggage (ANTA Theatre, New York, 1964)
1 folder, 49 items
ca.1964
THM/321/32/2 Costume designs on tracing paper for Traveller without Luggage (ANTA Theatre, New York, 1964)
1 folder, 21items
ca.1964
THM/321/32/3 Sketches of various birds and animals, in charcoal and watercolour, for Traveller without Luggage (ANTA Theatre, New York, 1964)
1 folder, 19 items
ca.1964
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.325-2006 (ROT 3916).
THM/321/32/4 Costume designs, in pencil, charcoal and watercolour, for Traveller without Luggage (ANTA Theatre, New York, 1964), many with backboards and some with swatches
1 folder, 34 items
ca.1964
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.323-2006 (ROT 3928), S.322-2006 (ROT 3920), S.319-2006 (ROT 3893) and S.320-2006 (ROT 3895).
THM/321/32/5 Sketches for props and scenery, in pencil, charcoal and watercolour, for Traveller without Luggage (ANTA Theatre, New York, 1964)
1 folder, 16 items
ca.1964
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S.321-2006 (ROT 3779), S.318-2006 (ROT 3778) and S.324-2006 (ROT 3869).
THM/321/32/6 Five fabric pieces, and a photostat of damask with pomegranate pattern, for Traveller without Luggage (ANTA Theatre, New York, 1964)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1964

Costume and set designs for Twang!! (Shaftesbury, 1965), ca.1965
Reference: THM/321/33
Extent: 5 files
Twang!! a musical by Lionel Bart based on the story of Robin Hood. Oliver Messel’s production first performed at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London on 20 December, 1965. Initally directed by Joan Littlewood, she was replaced by Burt Shevelove during rehearsals. It featured James Booth as Robin Hood and Barbara Windsor as Maid Marion. Twang!! was the last theatre production to be designed by Oliver Messel for the London stage.
This series consists of costume and set designs, set model pieces, scaled drawings and one fabric sample.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/33/1 Costume designs for Twang!! (Shaftesbury, 1965)
1 folder, 11 items
ca.1965
Sketches and finished designs in pencil and colour, one fabric sample. Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S. 330-2006 (ROT 3973), S. 326-2006 (ROT 3980), and S. 327-2006 (ROT 3981)
THM/321/33/2 Set designs on paper for Twang!! (Shaftesbury, 1965)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1965
THM/321/33/3 Set designs on tracing paper for Twang!! (Shaftesbury, 1965)
4 folders, 29 items
ca.1965
THM/321/33/4 Set designs for Twang!! (Shaftesbury, 1965) Flat cut out set pieces
3 folders, 18 items
ca.1965
Includes an item catalogued on CIS, reference number S. 328-2006 (ROT 3983)
THM/321/33/5 Set designs for Twang!! (Shaftesbury, 1965) model set pieces backdrops
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1965
Includes an item catalogued on CIS, reference number S. 329-2006 (ROT 3987)

Costume and set designs for Under the Sycamore Tree (Aldwych, 1952), ca.1952
Reference: THM/321/34
Extent: 7 files
Under the Sycamore Tree, a satirical play in three acts by Sam Spewack making comparisons between humans and ants. Oliver Messel’s production was first produced by H. M. Tennent Productions Ltd. at the Aldwych Theatre, London, 23 April 1952 (with an initial prior performance at the Streatham Hill Theatre, London, 14 April 1952). It was directed by Peter Glenville and featured Alec Guiness as The Scientist and Diana Churchill as the Ant Queen.
This series consists of costume and set designs, set model pieces, portrait sketches and sketches on tracing paper fragments.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/34/1 Typescript furniture and property list, net pieces for set model, photograph of set model by Angus McBean, and a set design sketch on acetate, for Under the Sycamore Tree (Aldwych, 1952)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1952
THM/321/34/2 Sketches on tracing paper for costume and accessories design for Under the Sycamore Tree (Aldwych, 1952)
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1952
THM/321/34/3 Costume design sketches for Under the Sycamore Tree (Aldwych, 1952), in watercolour on paper
1 folder, 21 items
ca.1952
THM/321/34/4 Set design sketches, mainly of fruit, plants, insects, animals and props, for Under the Sycamore Tree (Aldwych, 1952), in pencil, pen and ink, charcoal and watercolour
1 folder, 44 items
ca.1952
THM/321/34/5 Large furniture, set and unidentified costume designs for Under the Sycamore Tree (Aldwych, 1952), in pencil, charcoal and watercolour
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1952
THM/321/34/6 Sketches on tracing paper for Under the Sycamore Tree (Aldwych, 1952), mainly in charcoal
1 folder, 29 items
ca.1952
THM/321/34/7 Painted backdrop sketches and flat model pieces for Under the Sycamore Tree (Aldwych, 1952)
1 folder, 18 items
ca.1952

Costume and set designs for Zémire et Azor (Bath Theatre Royal, 1955), ca.1955
Reference: THM/321/35
Extent: 5 files
Zémire et Azor, an opera (1771) in four acts composed by André Grétry with libretto by Jean Marmontel from La Chausée’s comedy, Amour par amour (1742), a variant on Charles Perrault’s fairy tale Beauty and the Beast (1697). Oliver Messel’s production was first performed at the Bath Festival, Theatre Royal, Bath on 11 May 1955. It was directed by Anthony Besch with choreography by William Chappel and featured Huguette Boulangeot as Zémire and Michael Sénécal as Azor.
This series consists of costume and set designs and set model pieces.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/35/1 Costume designs for Zémire et Azor(Bath Theatre Royal, 1955) complete designs
2 folders, 15 items
ca.1955
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference numbers S. 341-2006 (ROT 4153), S. 342-2006 (ROT 4154), S. 338-2006 (ROT 4142), S. 343-2006 (ROT 4123), S. 337-2006 (ROT 4140), S. 339-2006 (ROT 4145), S. 336-2006 (ROT 4138), S. 340-2006 (ROT 4147), S. 333-2006 (ROT 4137)
THM/321/35/2 Costume designs for Zémire et Azor (Bath Theatre Royal, 1955) sketches and notes
2 folders, 17 items
ca.1955
Designs on paper and tracing paper. Includes an item catalogued on CIS, reference S. 331-2006 (ROT 4127)
THM/321/35/3 Set designs for Zémire et Azor (Bath Theatre Royal, 1955) storyboards, sketches and designs of individual pieces
2 folders, 11 items
ca.1955
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference S.344-2006 (ROT 4155 and ROT 4156), S. 332-2006 (ROT 4130)
THM/321/35/4 Set designs for Zémire et Azor (Bath Theatre Royal, 1955) Flat cut out set pieces and backdrops
2 folders, 16 items
ca.1955
Includes items catalogued on CIS, reference S. 346-2006 (ROT 4194), S. 336-2006 (ROT 4188), S. 335-2006 (ROT 4193)
THM/321/35/5 Set designs for Zémire et Azor (Bath Theatre Royal, 1955) designs and sketches on tracing paper
3 folders, 22 items
ca.1955
Includes an item catalogued on CIS, reference number S. 334-2006 (ROT 4176)


Costume and set designs, film productions, 1934-1960
Extent: 9 files
Oliver Messel designed sets and costumes for nine film productions from 1934 to 1960, as well as one which did not go into production. He also produced concepts for a film version of the ballet Sleeping Beauty, which did not develop further. The films are in black and white, with the exception of The Thief of Baghdad (Powell, 1940) and Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946) both made in Technicolor.
Four films are represented in this sub-fonds, plus designs for two films which were not produced. There are no original designs relating to George Cukor's Romeo and Juliet (MGM, 1936), but photographs and reference material do exist.
This sub-fonds has been divided into six series by name of production in alphabetical order (NB series number THM/321/40 is not used).
The series are divided into files by format and logical groupings.

Designs for an unmade film of Arms and the Man (Korda) , ca.1956
Reference: THM/321/36
Extent: 2 files
Arms and the Man, a film planned but never produced by Alexander Korda from the play (1894) by George Bernard Shaw about revolution in the Balkans.
This series includes designs and sketches for costumes and the set
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/36/1 Costume designs for Arms and the Man (Korda)
4 folders, 92 items
ca.1956
Includes both sketches and finished designs. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.362-2006 (ROT 179) and S.363-2006 (ROT 93)
THM/321/36/2 Set designs for Arms and the Man (Korda)
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1956
Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers 104 S.360-2006 and 138 S.361-2006

Designs for Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946) , ca.1946
Reference: THM/321/37
Extent: 2 files
Caesar and Cleopatra, a film directed by Gabriel Pascal from a play (1901) by George Bernard Shaw. It was produced by I. P. Pascal and featured Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra and Claude Rains as Caesar. Filmed in Technicolor.
This series consists of costume and set designs and sketches, colour palettes, costume and set notes
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/37/1 Costume designs for Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946)
5 folders, 56 items
ca.1946
Includes both sketches and finished designs. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.364-2006 (ROT 5962), S.365-2006 (ROT 5966), S.366-2006 (ROT 5967), S.367-2006 (ROT 5979), S.374-2006 (ROT 5980), S.370-2006 (ROT 5982), S.368-2006 (ROT 5987) and S.372-2006 (ROT 5988)
THM/321/37/2 Set designs for Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946)
1 folder, 9 items
ca.1946
Includes designs on card, paper and tracing paper. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers S.373-2006 (ROT 5953), S.371-2006 (ROT 5970) and S.369-2006 (ROTs 5968 and 5969)

Costume designs for The Private life of Don Juan (Korda, 1934) , ca.1934
Reference: THM/321/38
Extent: 1 file
The Private life of Don Juan, a film directed by Alexander Korda and produced by London Film Productions Ltd. It featured Douglas Fairbanks Senior as Don Juan and Merle Oberon as Antonia.
This series includes designs and sketches for costumes
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/38/1 Costume designs for The Private life of Don Juan (Korda, 1934)
2 folders, 27 items
ca.1934
Includes both sketches and finished designs. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers 6417 S.375-2006, 6429 S.376-2006 and 6432 S.377-2006

Designs for The Queen of Spades (Dickinson, 1949) , ca.1949
Reference: THM/321/39
Extent: 2 files
The Queen of Spades, a film directed by Thorold Dickinson and produced by World Screenplays. It featured Anton Walbrook as Herman and Edith Evans as Countess Ranevskaya.
This series includes designs and sketches for costumes and the film set
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/39/1 Costume designs for The Queen of Spades (Dickenson, 1949)
2 folders, 16 items
ca.1949
Includes both sketches and finished designs. Includes item catalogued on CIS with reference number 6497 S.379-2006
THM/321/39/2 Set designs for The Queen of Spades (Dickenson, 1949)
8 folders, 90 items
ca.1949
Includes both sketches and finished designs. Includes items catalogued on CIS with reference numbers 6492 S.378-2006, 7023 S. 380-2006, 7030 S.381-2006, 7033 S.382-2006 and 7032 S.384-2006

Costume and set design concepts for an unmade film of Sleeping Beauty, 1950s
Reference: THM/321/41
Extent: 2 files
Concepts by Oliver Messel for a film of Sleeping Beauty which was never made.
This series includes concepts for scenes on paper and board, Oliver Messel’s synopsis and choreographer’s notes.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/41/1 Sheet of notes, typescript of preliminary synopsis and a booklet of choreographic notes for an unmade film of Sleeping Beauty
1 folder, 3 items
1950s
THM/321/41/2 Rough colour sketches of set and costume designs, mainly in charcoal or ink and wash, for an unmade film of Sleeping Beauty
2 folders, 100 items
1950s
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, references: S.509-2006 (ROT 7502), S.510-2006 (ROT 7505), S.515-2006 (ROT 7435), S.516-2006 (ROT 7434), S.517-2006 (ROT 7473)

Costume and set designs for Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960), ca.1960
Reference: THM/321/42
Extent: 1 file
Suddenly Last Summer, a film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz with a screenplay by Gore Vidal from a play (1959) by Tennesee Williams. It featured Montgomery Clift as Dr. Cukrowicz, Katherine Hepburn as Violet Venable and Elizabeth Taylor as Catherine Holly. Messel was nominated for two Oscars for his set designs.
This series consists of sketches, costume and set designs, and dyelines of set plans.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/42/1 Sketches, costume and set designs, and dyelines of set plans for Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
4 folders, 44 items
ca.1960
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, references: S.386-2006 (ROT 7859), S.396-2006 (ROT 7854), S.390-2006 (ROT 7872), S.385-2006 (ROT 7847), S.388-2006 (ROT 7841), S.387-2006 (ROT 7845), S.388-2006 (ROT 7849), S.313-2006 (ROT 7853), S.389-2006 (ROT 7867), S.394-2006 (ROT 7869)


Architecture and interior design, ca.1961-1974
Extent: 30 files
Messel’s work included temporary decorations for festival occasions such as balls, royal box decorations and window displays, and interior design commissions, including the Dorchester Hotel Suite and Penthouse (1953) and the restoration of the Bath Assembly Rooms (1961-1963). From 1966 until his death in 1978, Messel lived full-time in Barbados and began a new career as a designer of luxury private homes in Barbados and the then undeveloped island of Mustique, as well as other locations in the West Indies. He also designed some public buildings, including a village school in Mustique. His designs were realised by Arnë Hasselquist, a Swedish architect.
This sub-fonds includes architectural model pieces, plans, designs and sketches for buildings and interior designs by Oliver Messel from 1951 to 1978 in Britain, United States and the West Indies. Also some correspondence, colour palettes, notes and reference material such as postcards and photographs.
This sub-fonds has been divided into eleven series arranged intially by name of building in alphabetical order, followed by buildings in the West Indies and miscellaneous projects (NB series number THM/321/52 is not used).

Designs for the American Ambassador’s Ball, Winfield House, London (1960) , ca.1960
Reference: THM/321/43
Extent: 1 file
This series includes model pieces, sketches for wall decorations, cross-sections and ground plans.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/43/1 Sketches and cross-sections on plain and tracing paper, floor plans, estimations and samples for the American Ambassador’s Ball, Winfield House, London (1960)
2 folders, 22 items
ca.1960

Architectural plans, designs and sketches for the redecoration of the Bath Assembly Rooms (1961-1963), ca. 1961-ca. 1963
Reference: THM/321/44
Extent: 6 files
This series includes designs and sketches for interiors, architectural details, fittings, colour samples and reference material.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/44/1 Colour samples on board for the redecoration of the Bath Assembly Rooms (1956)
2 folders, 11 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
THM/321/44/2 Ballroom block and floor plans for the redecoration of the Bath Assembly Rooms
1 folder, 4 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
THM/321/44/3 Designs and calculations relating to the redecoration of the Bath Assembly Rooms
1 folder, 29 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
THM/321/44/4 Colour sketches of room designs for the redecoration of the Bath Assembly Rooms
2 folders, 10 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, references: S.453-2006 (ROT 4512), S.452-2006 (ROT 4513), S.451-2006 (ROT 4514)
THM/321/44/5 Designs and sketches for the redecoration of the Bath Assembly Rooms
4 folders, 21 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
Sketches and designs include pencil on tracing paper, annotated sketches, pen, dyeline and ink wash. Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, references: S.449-2006 (ROT 4515), S.454-2006 (ROT 4511), S.450-2006 (ROT 4506), S.455-2006 (ROT 4507)
THM/321/44/6 Reference material for the redecoration of the Bath Assembly Rooms
1 folder, 18 items
ca.1961
Colour prints of bath architecture, and black and white landscape prints

Designs for the Dorchester Hotel Suite and Penthouse (1953) and Pavilion (1956), ca. 1953-ca. 1956
Reference: THM/321/45
Extent: 2 files
This series includes designs and sketches for interiors, architectural details, and fittings for the Dorchester Hotel Suite, Penthouse and Pavilion, and brochures for the hotel.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/45/1 Designs, plans and sketches for the Dorchester Hotel Suite, Penthouse and Pavilion
2 folders, 56 items
ca. 1953-ca. 1956
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, references: S.439-2006 (ROT 5798), S.440-2006 (ROT 5797), S.442-2006 (ROT 5795), S.438-2006 (ROT 5781), S.443-2006 (ROT 5805), S.444-2006 (ROT 5816) and S.441-2006 (ROT 5787)
THM/321/45/2 Brochures relating to rooms at the Dorchester Hotel
1 folder, 7 items
undated

Designs for the Festival of Britain, Vauxhall Gardens, London (1951), ca.1951
Reference: THM/321/46
Extent: 4 files
This series contains sketches and designs
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/46/1 Charcoal, ink and wash sketches of architectural views for the Festival of Britain, Vauxhall Gardens, London (1951)
1 folder, 10 items
ca.1951
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, reference numbers: S.446-2006 (ROT 5833), S.445-2006 (ROT 5835) and S.447-2006 (ROT 5832)
THM/321/46/2 Watercolour designs for fountains for the Festival of Britain, Vauxhall Gardens, London (1951)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1951
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, reference: S.448-2006 (ROT 5831)
THM/321/46/3 Ariel views on tracing paper for the Festival of Britain, Vauxhall Gardens, London (1951)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1951
THM/321/46/4 Designs and sketches for the Festival of Britain, Vauxhall Gardens, London (1951)
2 folders, 8 items
ca.1951

Architectural plans and designs for the Green Street Club, London (1961), ca.1961
Reference: THM/321/47
Extent: 1 file
This series a ground plan, elevations and designs.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/47/1 Ground plan, elevations and exterior designs for the Green Street Club, London (1961)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1961
Two designs of the exterior on tracing paper

Designs for Justerini and Brooks, London (1954), 1954 June 09-1954 June 11
Reference: THM/321/48
Extent: 1 file
This series contains a plan for the shop facade of Justerini and Brooks, champagne and wine merchants based in Bond Street, London.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/48/1 Elevation plan for the facade of Justerini and Brooks, London (1954)
1 folders, 1 item
1954 June 09-1954 June 11

Plans, sketches and designs for the interior architecture and decoration of the National Theatre (Billy Rose Theatre), New York (1959), ca.1959
Reference: THM/321/49
Extent: 1 file
This series includes plans, sketches and designs for the interior architecture and decoration of the National Theatre (Billy Rose Theatre), New York (1959).
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/49/1 Plans, sketches and designs for the interior architecture and decoration of the National Theatre (Billy Rose Theatre), New York (1959), including works on paper, tracing paper and acetate, and in pencil, pen, oil and watercolour, with fabric and colour samples
7 folders, 173 items
ca.1959

Designs and sketches for the extension to the Rayne Shoe Shop, London (1959), 1956 Sep 28-ca. 1959
Reference: THM/321/50
Extent: 3 files
This series includes architectural and decorative designs, sketches, plans and models.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/50/1 Architectural model of façade for the Rayne Shoe Shop, London (1959)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1959
THM/321/50/2 Impressionistic sketches of decorative motifs for the interior of the Rayne Shoe Shop, London (1959)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1959
Two sketches on plain paper and two on tracing paper, with references to ‘Miss Rayne’
THM/321/50/3 Floor and elevation plan for the extension to the Rayne Shoe Shop, London (1959)
1 folder, 1 item
1956 Sep 28

Designs and sketches for the interior decoration and exterior of the Reader’s Digest Building, Paris (1957), ca.1957
Reference: THM/321/51
Extent: 5 files
This series includes designs and sketches for architectural details, elevations, plans, and parts of architectural models.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/51/1 Architectural drawings and plans for the Reader’s Digest Building, Paris (1957)
1 folder, 16 items
ca.1957
Includes dyelines and plans for elevation
THM/321/51/2 Rough sketches and technical drawings for the Reader’s Digest Building, Paris (1957)
2 folders, 23 items
ca.1957
THM/321/51/3 Impressionistic sketches in ink of the Reader’s Digest Building, Paris (1957)
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1957
Sketches of interior and exterior of building
THM/321/51/4 Reference material for the Reader’s Digest Building, Paris (1957)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1957
A brochure
THM/321/51/5 Fragments of architectural model for the Reader’s Digest Building, Paris (1957)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1957

Designs and plans for buildings in the West Indies (1961-1974), 1961-1974
Reference: THM/321/53
Extent: 5 files
This series contains designs, plans and sketches relating to Oliver Messel’s architectural projects for public and private buildings in the West Indies
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/53/1 Floor and elevation plans for buildings in Mustique, in the West Indies, including a village provision shop, a small village hotel, and a house for the Lady Honor Svejdar
1 folder, 7 items
undated
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, references: S.485-2006 (ROT 5853), S.486-2006 (ROT 8586), S.487-2006 (ROT 8581),
THM/321/53/2 Floor and elevation plans for a house for Mark Gilby at Point Carib, Dominica, in the West Indies
1 folder, 22 items
ca.1969
THM/321/53/3 Floor and elevation plans for various projects in Barbados, in the West Indies
1 folder, 23 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1974
THM/321/53/4 Floor and elevation plans for a government house in Barbados, in the West Indies, with sketches of the proposed building and architectural motifs, and two designs for a bookcase
1 folder, 73 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1974
THM/321/53/5 Oversize designs and plans for private and public buildings in the West Indies (1961-1974), including houses for the Lady Honor Svejdar in Mustique and Mark Gilby at Point Carib, Dominica
1 folder, 33 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1974

Designs and plans for miscellaneous buildings and interiors, undated
Reference: THM/321/54
Extent: 1 file
This series includes miscellaneous designs, plans, elevations and sketches for interior decorations and buildings. Most designs are unidentified.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/54/1 Gauzes, sketches, designs, coloured cards and borders for miscellaneous, unidentified projects
3 folders, 55 items
undated


Other working papers, ca. 1700-1978
Extent: 59 files
This sub-fonds contains material relating to Messel's programme design work, his fabric samples (assembled both for his theatre and film work and for his fabric design work), and supporting material for all his design commissions, such as reference material, press cuttings and correspondence.
This sub-fonds has been divided into six series:
Theatre programme designs
Fabric samples and fabric sample books
Miscellaneous designs on paper
Reference material
Press cuttings
Correspondence and other papers

Theatre programme designs , 1950-1959
Reference: THM/321/55
Extent: 16 files
Glyndebourne programmes with cover designs by Oliver Messel from 1950 to 1959, when Messel worked as a costume and set designer for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Also some Covent Garden programmes.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/55/1 Sketches and designs for Glyndebourne Festival programmes
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1952
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, reference: S.490-2006 (ROT 4308)
THM/321/55/2 Sketches and designs for Glyndebourne Festival programmes
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1953
THM/321/55/3 Sketches and designs for Glyndebourne Festival programmes
1 folder, 8 items
ca.1954
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, references: S.488-2006 (ROT 4342), S.489-2006 (ROT 4313)
THM/321/55/4 Sketches and designs for Glyndebourne Festival programmes
1 folder, 21 items
ca.1956
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, reference: S.436-2006 (ROT 4279)
THM/321/55/5 Sketches and designs for Glyndebourne Festival programmes
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1958
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, reference: S.434-2006 (ROT 4369)
THM/321/55/6 Sketches and designs for Glyndebourne Festival programmes
4 folders, 34 items
ca.1959
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, reference: S.437-2006 (ROT 4321)
THM/321/55/7 Sketches and designs for Covent Garden programmes
2 folders, 7 items
ca. 1950-ca. 1954
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, reference: S.435-2006 (ROT 4376)
THM/321/55/8 Sketches and designs for unidentified programmes
4 folders, 34 items
undated
Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, reference: S.397-2006 (ROT 4381)
THM/321/55/9 Covent Garden programmes
1 folder, 6 items
1950
THM/321/55/10 Covent Garden programmes
1 folder, 7 items
1953
THM/321/55/11 Covent Garden programmes
1 folder, 8 items
1954
THM/321/55/12 Glyndebourne Festival programmes
4 folders, 28 items
1954
One programme is dedicated to ‘Emery’ and signed by Oliver Messel on the title page, with a short note to ‘Emery’ from Oliver Messel enclosed between the front cover and the title page
THM/321/55/13 Glyndebourne Festival programmes
1 folder, 9 items
1952
THM/321/55/14 Glyndebourne Festival programmes
1 folder, 5 items
1953
THM/321/55/15 Glyndebourne Festival programme
1 folder, 1 item
1955
THM/321/55/16 Glyndebourne Festival programmes
1 folder, 2 items
1959
25th anniversary (1934-1959) programme

Fabric samples and fabric sample books , ca. 1946-ca. 1976
Reference: THM/321/56
Extent: 20 files
This series contains fabric sample books and folders compiled by Oliver Messel for some theatre productions from 1946 to 1956. There are folders of samples for Oliver Messel’s designs for Sekers silk brocade patterns (1953) and fabric samples for Barbados house interiors designed by Oliver Messel. There are also some unidentified fabric samples.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/56/1 Fabric samples for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
4 volumes
ca.1951
4 fabric sample books
THM/321/56/2 Fabric samples for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 volume
ca.1954
THM/321/56/3 Fabric samples for Le Comte Ory (Glyndebourne, 1954)
2 volumes and 1 folder
ca.1954
2 fabric sample books and three loose sheets
THM/321/56/4 Fabric samples with designs for Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Glynbourne, 1956)
1 volume
ca.1956
THM/321/56/5 Fabric sample book for Homage to the Queen (Royal Opera House, 1953)
1 volume
ca.1953
THM/321/56/6 Fabric samples for School for Scandal (Det Ny, 1958)
6 folders, 32 items
ca.1958
Includes a bundle of 11 fabric samples
THM/321/56/7 Fabric samples for Mrs Aspinall’s party dress
1 folder, 21 items
undated
THM/321/56/8 Fabric samples for a command performance, the royal box
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1953
THM/321/56/9 Fabric samples for Zémire et Azor (Bath Theatre Royal, 1955)
1 folder, 5 items
ca.1955
THM/321/56/10 Fabric samples for Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne, 1959)
2 folders, 15 items
ca.1959
THM/321/56/11 Fabric samples for The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House, 1947 and 1956)
3 folders, 22 items
ca. 1947] or ca. 1956]
THM/321/56/12 Fabric samples for the Leamington Spa Pavilion (1963) and Crystal Springs (1968)
1 folder, 15 items
[ca 1963-ca. 1968
Fabric samples for interiors
THM/321/56/13 Fabric samples for Tough at the Top (Adelphi, 1949)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1949
THM/321/56/14 Sekers fabric samples
21 folders, 23 items
undated
THM/321/56/15 Fabric samples, fabric designs and colour palettes
10 folders, 81 items
undated
Fabric samples and sketches, colour palettes and designs on paper for fabric. Contains items catalogued individually on CIS, references: S.433-2006 (ROT 7915), S.431-2006 (ROT 7929), S.399-2006 (ROT 7958), S.400-2006 (ROT 7954), S.430-2006 (ROT 7947), S.398-2006 (ROT 7946), S.432-2006 (ROT 7966)
THM/321/56/16 Large colour-grouped fabric samples
2 folders, 8 items
undated
THM/321/56/17 Fabric samples and swatches for The Sleeping Princess (Metropolitan Opera House, 1976)
1 folder, 21 items
ca.1976
Fabric samples for the nymphs in Act II
THM/321/56/18 Large sheet of fabric samples for School for Scandal (Det Ny, 1958)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1958
THM/321/56/19 Fabric sample book for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946), with 17 pages of fabric samples
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1946
THM/321/56/20 Fabric samples for Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Glyndebourne, 1954)
3 folders, 40 items
ca.1954
This file is made up of sheets of fabric samples

Miscellaneous designs on paper, undated
Reference: THM/321/57
Extent: 10 files
This series contains miscellaneous unidentified designs, sketches and drawings by Oliver Messel, including costume, gauze and border designs for theatre productions. There are also some pages from a Jamaican sketch book featuring unidentified scenes and landscapes.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/57/1 Miscellaneous unidentified set and prop designs on paper
1 folder, 8 items
undated
THM/321/57/2 Miscellaneous unidentified set and prop designs on tracing paper
1 folder, 4 items
undated
THM/321/57/3 Miscellaneous unidentified costume designs
1 folder, 8 items
undated
Designs on paper and tracing paper, mainly relating to Turkish dress, with some reference material
THM/321/57/4 Miscellaneous colour pallets, notes, swatches, fabric samples and sketches
1 folder, 12 items
undated
THM/321/57/5 Miscellaneous figurative and landscape sketches relating to West Indies scenes
1 folder, 9 items
undated
Sketches in pen and pencil, one watercolour painting
THM/321/57/6 Miscellaneous sketches of architecture, interiors and fittings
1 folder, 56 items
undated
Sketches in pencil, pen and ink, and ink wash, including sketches for Mrs Drew Heinz's house, Leamington
THM/321/57/7 Miscellaneous ground and elevation plans for architectural projects in the West Indies and for Mrs Drew Heinz's House, Leamington
1 folder, 6 items
undated
THM/321/57/8 Miscellaneous costume designs and figurative sketches, on paper and tracing paper
1 folder, 17 items
undated
THM/321/57/9 Miscellaneous painted gauzes and backcloths for set designs
1 folder, 3 items
undated
THM/321/57/10 Miscellaneous sketches on tracing paper, including architectural details, set designs and figurative works, and some notes for Hugh Skillern regarding The Marriage of Figaro (Metropolitan Opera House, 1959)
1 folder, 20 items
ca.1959

Reference material, ca. 1700-1965 Jan 13
Reference: THM/321/59
Extent: 5 files
This series contains material used by Oliver Messel as an art historical reference source and/or inspiration for his theatre and film designs. The series includes engravings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries depicting architectural, fine art, theatrical and botanical subjects and printed reproductions of Greek vase decoration, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, painting and decorative arts.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/59/1 Collection of ‘Grosses Theater’ prints for reference
1 folder, ca. 80 items
undated
THM/321/59/2 Prints for reference, with published album of Toulouse-Lautrec reproductions and an unidentified sketch
1 folder, 28 items
ca. 1700-ca. 1900
THM/321/59/3 Prints for reference, including architectural views, landscapes, costumes, plants and flowers
1 folder, ca. 80 items
ca. 1700-1965 Jan 13
THM/321/59/4 Collection of Pollock’s stage set prints for reference
1 folder, ca. 400 items
undated
THM/321/59/5 Miscellaneous reference material, including an album of photographs and postcards depicting architecture and interior designs, a copy of Apollo magazine (Vol. LV, No. 324, Feb 1952), prints and photographs of paintings, and a published album of works by Leonardo da Vinci
1 folder, ca. 200 items
[19--?

Press cuttings, 1932-1976
Reference: THM/321/60
Extent: 5 files
This series contains miscellaneous press cuttings, many of which are press cuttings and magazine articles published in the United States relating to the American Ballet Theatre revival of The Sleeping Princess at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, on 15 June 1976.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/60/1 Miscellaneous press cuttings relating to Oliver Messel
1 folder, 7 items
1932-ca. 1965
THM/321/60/2 Magazines containing articles relating to Oliver Messel
1 folder, 8 items
1949 Feb 12-1976
Magazines include ‘Hers Magazine’ (Vol. 1, No. 5; May 1976), ‘On Point’ (Vol. 2, No. 1; Summer 1976), ‘ASCAP Today’ (Vol. 8, No. 1; Fall 1976), ‘The New Yorker’ (Vol. LII; 5 July 1976), ‘The Illustrated London News’ (Vol. 241; 20 Oct 1962), ‘Everybody’s Weekly’ (12 Feb 1949) and two copies of ‘The Art Review’ (Vol. XIV, No. 20; 20 October 1962).
THM/321/60/3 Press cuttings from United States publications relating to the New York revival of The The Sleeping Princess (Metropolitan Opera House, 1976)
1 folder, ca. 70 items
1976
THM/321/60/4 Press cutting, with commentary, of photograph of Oliver Messel in his studio working on designs for Francesca da Rimini (Royal Opera House, 1937), with photocopy of theatre listings advertisement for this production
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1937
THM/321/60/5 Press cuttings of reviews in Danish newspapers, and a poster, for a production of Ring Round the Moon (premiered at The Globe, 1950) performed at the Folkes Theatre, Copenhagen, under the title Dans under Stjernerne in August 1950
1 folder, 12 items
1950 Aug 26-1950 Aug 29

Correspondence and other papers, ca. 1934-1978
Reference: THM/321/61
Extent: 3 files
This series contains correspondence to and from Oliver Messel, some personal and much relating to specific theatre, film and architecture projects, as well as miscellaneous items of ephemera such as hotel bills and receipts
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/61/1 Personal and miscellaneous correspondence, including some rough drafts and a catalogue for Messel’s 1938 exhibition of paintings at the Leicester Galleries, London
1 folder, 19 items
1938 Dec-1976 July 13
THM/321/61/2 Correspondence, notes and other papers relating to specific theatre, film and architecture projects
11 folders, 90 items
ca. 1934-1964 Apr 6
Projects include the Bath Assembly Rooms (23 items, dated 1938-23 March 1962); the Billy Rose National Theatre, New York (7 items, dated 17 July 1958-10 September 1959); Le Comte Ory (5 items, not dated); The Dark is Light Enough (2 items, one dated 6 April 1964 and the other not dated); The Private life of Don Juan (8 items, not dated); House of Flowers (36 items in 2 folders, dated 30 September 1954-22 April 1955); The Magic Flute (1 item, not dated); Le Nozze di Figaro (3 items, not dated); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1 item, not dated); and Der Rosenkavalier (4 items, one dated 8 April 1959 and the others not dated).
THM/321/61/3 Miscellaneous papers and ephemera
1 folder, 10 items
1935-1978
Includes an exhibition catalogue (1959), bills and receipts, a greetings card containing two colour photographs, a colour cartoon, and a typescript prospectus for a project entitled ‘The Carnegie Study of the Arts of the United States’.


Photographs, ca. 1920-1976
Extent: 118 files
This sub-fonds contains photographs documenting Oliver Messel’s career as a costume and set designer, including photographs taken on set and publicity shots. The photographs were taken by a number of professional photographers, including Angus MacBean, Cecil Beaton and Gordon Anthony. A number of photographs are informal shots of Oliver Messel, family and friends including studio photographs and publicity shots of his celebrity acquaintances, some of which are signed.
This sub-fonds is divided into the following series:
Photographs relating to theatre productions
Photographs relating to film productions
Photographs relating to architectural work
Photographs relating to other working projects
Personal photographs

Photographs relating to theatre productions , 1937-1976
Reference: THM/321/62
Extent: 34 files
This series contains photographs relating to ballet, opera and theatre productions designed by Oliver Messel.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/62/1 Production photographs of Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
1 folder, 17 items
1951
Possibly includes publicity shots
THM/321/62/2 Reference photographs for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1951
THM/321/62/3 Photographs of stage work for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
1 folder, 19 items
ca.1951
Contact sheet, and a mixture of colour and black and white photographs as well as photographs of skethches. 4 of the photographs to be found in an oversized box
THM/321/62/4 Photographs of costumes for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
5 folders, 83 items
ca.1951
Contact sheets and black and white photographs
THM/321/62/5 Photographs of individual costume pieces for Romeo and Juliet (Broadhurst, 1951)
2 folders, 29 items
ca.1951
Small black and white photographs
THM/321/62/6 Production photographs of Ring Round the Moon (Globe 1950)
2 folders, 27 items
1950
Black and white photographs
THM/321/62/7 Set photographs by Alec Murray and Angus McBean of Ring Round the Moon (Globe 1950)
1 folder, 8 items
1950
Two set photographs by Alec Murray, one with Messel on set, and six photographs by Angus McBean
THM/321/62/8 Reference photographs for The School for Scandal (Det Ny, 1958)
1 folder, 10 items
ca.1958
Includes eight black and white and two colour photographs and postcards
THM/321/62/9 Photographs of set model for Acts 2 and 3 of Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1946
Black and white photographs
THM/321/62/10 Photograph of two actors in costume on the set of The Queen of Spades (Royal Opera House, 1950)
1 folder, 1 item
1950
Large black and white photograph by Angus MacBean
THM/321/62/11 Photograph of set model for Traveller without Luggage (ANTA, 1964)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1964
THM/321/62/12 Negative copies of photographs and photocopies of props, furniture and ground plans for Traveller without Luggage (ANTA, 1964)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1964
Props and furniture photographed include a music stand, a mirror (Act II) and other items (Acts 1 and 2)
THM/321/62/13 Reference photographs for Traveller without Luggage (ANTA, 1964)
1 folder, 11 items
ca.1964
THM/321/62/14 Photographs of costume designs for Ariadne Auf Naxos (Glyndebourne, 1953 and 1962)
1 folder, 20 items
ca. 1953-ca. 1962
Unclear as to which production (1953 or 1962) the costume designs relate
THM/321/62/15 Production photograph of Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Glyndebourne, 1954)
1 folder, 1 item
1954
Black and white photograph of scenr from Act II, with Ian Wallace (Bartolo), Sesto Bruscantini (Figaro), Antonio Cassinilli (Basilio), Ivan Orcina (Almaria) and Graziella Sciutti
THM/321/62/16 Set photographs of Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, 1951)
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1951
Some of the photographs are mounted on card in pairs. 3 are in oversized box
THM/321/62/17 Photographs of Neptune sketch for Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, 1951)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1951
THM/321/62/18 Production photographs of Idomeneo (Glyndebourne, 1951)
1 folder, 2 items
1951
Photographs mounted together
THM/321/62/19 Production photographs of The Lady’s not for Burning (Globe, 1949)
1 folder, 6 items
1949
THM/321/62/20 Photocopies of photographed costume design sketches for Tough at the Top (Adelphi, 1949)
3 folders, 35 items
ca.1949
THM/321/62/21 Set photograph of Letter from Paris (Aldwych, 1952)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1952
THM/321/62/22 Photographs of set model for Twang!! (Shaftesbury, 1965)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1965
THM/321/62/23 Reference photograph for Twang!! (Shaftesbury, 1965)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1965
Black and white photograph of 15th century tapestry La Dame a la Licorne
THM/321/62/24 Production photographs of Zémire et Azor (Bath Theatre Royal, 1955)
1 folder, 2 items
1955
Photographs by Armstrong-Jones
THM/321/62/25 Production photograph of Samson (Royal Opera House, 1958)
1 folder, 1 item
1958
Black and white photograph of cast members by Houston Rogers
THM/321/62/26 Production photographs of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Old Vic, 1937)
1 folder, 2 items
1937
Black and white photographs by Gordon Anthony
THM/321/62/27 Photographs of set models, and of Margot Fonteyn performing, for Sleeping Beauty (Royal Opera House, 1946)
1 folder, 45 items
ca.1946
6 colour photographs, one with Oliver Messel, and 5 black and white photographs of set models, with 34 small photographs of Margot Fonteyn performing
THM/321/62/28 Photographs for Le Comte Ory (Glyndebourne, 1954)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1954
Black and white photograph of headresses by Armstrong-Jones and a photograph of the set
THM/321/62/29 Photographs of School for Scandal performance (Det Ny, 1958)
1 folder, 3 items
1958
Photographs by Mydstbow of Act I Scene I
THM/321/62/30 Photographs of the set model and reference photographs for Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndbourne, 1955)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1955
Photographs of set models for Acts III and IV and reference photographs of chairs
THM/321/62/31 Photographs for Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Glyndbourne, 1954)
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1955
Photograph of set model
THM/321/62/32 Photographs of actors for Rashomon (Music Box, 1959)
1 folder, 4 items
ca.1959
Photographs of Claire Bloom and her co-star
THM/321/62/33 Production photographs for The House of Flowers (Alvin, 1954)
1 folder, 6 items
ca.1954
Large colour film slides of production and one black and white photograph of Truman Capote
THM/321/62/34 Photographs of costume designs for The Sleeping Princess (Metropolitan Opera House, 1976?)
1 folder, 84 items
ca.1976?
Large black and white photographs of costume designs

Photographs relating to film productions, 1934-1965
Reference: THM/321/63
Extent: 28 files and 4 volumes
This series contains photographs relating to film productions designed by Oliver Messel.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/63/1 Photographs of costumes for Romeo and Juliet (Cukor, 1936)
1 volume
ca.1936
Leather binder containing photographs of actors and actresses in costume
THM/321/63/2 Film stills and publicity shots of Romeo and Juliet (Cukor, 1936)
1 volume
1936
Black leather binder containing film stills and publicity shots
THM/321/63/3 Photographs of actors in costume for Romeo and Juliet (Cukor, 1936)
1 folder, 12 items
1936
Includes autographed photograph of Moira Shearer (cast as Juliette)
THM/321/63/4 Photographs of costume designs for Romeo and Juliet (Cukor, 1936)
11 folders, 128 items
ca.1936
Contact sheets and black and white photographs of costume designs, including working sketches, painted designs, complete designs and separate pieces
THM/321/63/5 Set photographs, film stills and publicity shots for The Queen of Spades (Dickinson, 1949)
1 volume
1949
Bound album of black and white photographs, including images of Oliver Messel working on set, film stills and publicity shots
THM/321/63/6 Set photographs and film stills for The Queen of Spades (Dickinson, 1949)
1 volume
1949
Bound album of black and white set photographs and film stills
THM/321/63/7 Photographs of sketches of heads and figures for The Queen of Spades (Dickinson, 1949)
2 folders, 25 items
ca.1949
THM/321/63/8 Photographs of costumes for The Queen of Spades (Dickinson, 1949)
1 folder, 18 items
ca.1949
THM/321/63/9 Photographs of sets and scenery for The Queen of Spades (Dickinson, 1949)
2 folders, 26 items
ca.1949
THM/321/63/10 Photographs of set and locations for The Queen of Spades (Dickinson, 1949)
2 folders, 29 items
ca.1949
Includes photographs of filming, preparation, set building, actors and actresses on set, and publicity shots
THM/321/63/11 Film stills and set photographs of The Queen of Spades (Dickinson, 1949)
15 folders, 230 items
1949
THM/321/63/12 Reference photographs for The Queen of Spades (Dickinson, 1949)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1949
Photographs of a sketch of a ballroom and a view of the canal fontanica and the barracks
THM/321/63/13 Photographs of Oliver Messel’s set sketches for Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
1 folder, 11 items
ca.1960
THM/321/63/14 Photograph of Oliver Messel on set of Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
4 folders, 31 items
ca.1960
THM/321/63/15 Reference photographs for Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
1 folder, 13 items
ca.1960
Black and white photographs of drawings, interiors etc.
THM/321/63/16 Photographs of filming and set work between takes on Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
2 folders, 25 items
1960
THM/321/63/17 Reference photographs of buildings for Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
6 folders, 68 items
ca.1960
Black and white photographs of mainly French buildings
THM/321/63/18 Film stills of Katherine Hepburn in Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
1 folder, 18 items
1960
THM/321/63/19 Film stills of Elizabeth Taylor in Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
1 folder, 8 items
1960
THM/321/63/20 Set photographs and film stills from Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
2 folders, 34 items
1960
Includes item catalogued on CIS, reference number S.395-2006 (ROT 7589).
THM/321/63/21 Film stills from Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
4 folders, 44 items
1960
THM/321/63/22 Negatives, small set photographs and reference material for Suddenly Last Summer (Mankiewicz, 1960)
1 folder, 74 items
ca.1960
43 negatives and 31 small set photographs
THM/321/63/23 Photographs of Vivien Leigh, off set, alone and with others, on the set of Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946)
1 folder, 3 items
ca.1946
THM/321/63/24 Photographs of of Vivien Leigh and crew between takes on the set of Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946)
1 folder, 15 items
1946
THM/321/63/25 Photographs of headdresses from Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946)
2 folders, 22 items
ca.1946
Includes black and white photograph of back view of Cleopatra’s wig, and a 4-page list of costumes and designs for Cleopatra
THM/321/63/26 Reference photographs of drawings of Greek and Roman costumes for Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946)
1 folder, 20 items
ca.1946
THM/321/63/27 Reference photographs of Roman and Egyptian antiques, sketches etc. for Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946)
7 folders, 76 items
ca.1946
THM/321/63/28 Photographs of sketched designs for costumes and accessories for Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946)
6 folders, 127 items
ca.1946
THM/321/63/29 Film stills and set photographs from Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal, 1946)
10 folders, 212 items
1946
THM/321/63/30 Reference photographs for costumes for Arms and the Man (Korda, 1965)
3 folders, 32 items
ca.1965
THM/321/63/31 Large reference photographs for costumes for Arms and the Man (Korda, 1965)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1965
Photographs mounted together on card
THM/321/63/32 Reference photograph of street musicians, and a photograph of Douglas Fairbanks, for The Private life of Don Juan (Korda, 1934)
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1934

Photographs relating to architectural work , ca. 1953-ca. 1963
Reference: THM/321/64
Extent: 14 files
This series contains photographs relating to architectural work by Oliver Messel.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/64/1 Reference photographs for the Bath Assembly Rooms
1 folder, 6 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
Includes 2 design photographs and 4 eighteeth century artist views of the Bath Assembly Rooms
THM/321/64/2 Photograph of chair for the Bath Assembly Rooms
1 folder, 1 item
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
THM/321/64/3 Photographs of candelabra for the Bath Assembly Rooms
1 folder, 9 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
Black and white photographs of the candelabra
THM/321/64/4 Photographs of models of the bar for the tea room at the Bath Assembly Rooms
1 folder, 3 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
THM/321/64/5 Photographs of the Bath Assembly Rooms
1 folder, 5 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
Includes 2 black and white photographs and 3 colour slides of the ballroom
THM/321/64/6 Reference photographs and postcards of Bath for the Bath Assembly Rooms
4 folders, 87 items
ca. 1961-ca. 1963
Includes 54 small black and white photographs, 3 photographs and 30 postcards
THM/321/64/7 Reference photographs by Sidney Bernstein Haze
1 folder, 7 items
undated
Black and white photographs of unidentified buildings
THM/321/64/8 Pre-development photographs of the Readers’ Digest Building, Paris
2 folders, 16 items
ca.1957
Includes black and white photographs of the building pre-development and of the roofline
THM/321/64/9 Photograph of design for the Rayne Shoe Shop, London
1 folder, 1 item
ca.1959
Black and white photograph of shop façade by Peter Waugh
THM/321/64/10 Photographs for the Green Street Club, London
1 folder, 7 items
ca.1961
Includes photographs of the interior and exterior of club as well as reference photographs for the design
THM/321/64/11 Photographs for the Dorchester Hotel
1 folder, 12 items
ca.1953
Includes black and white and colour photographs of the Dorchester Hotel roof terrace and façade. Some of the photographs are by Millar and Haws
THM/321/64/12 Reference photographs for the Billy Rose National Theatre, New York
1 folder, 10 items
ca.1959
Black and white reference photographs
THM/321/64/13 Negative print designs for the Billy Rose National Theatre, New York
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1959
THM/321/64/14 Photograph and negatives for the Billy Rose National Theatre, New York
1 folder, 2 items
ca.1959
Includes a black and white photograph of an unidentified building and a packet of negatives

Photographs relating to other working projects , 1926-ca. 1970
Reference: THM/321/65
Extent: 6 files
This series contains photographs relating to other working projects of Oliver Messel.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/65/1 Photographs of the Royal Box
1 folder, 2 items
undated
Large black and white photographs of the Royal Box at the Gala evening at Covent Garden
THM/321/65/2 Photographs of Queen Elizabeth I mask
1 folder, 2 items
1926
THM/321/65/3 Photographs of costume, fancy dress and fabric design
2 folder, 5 items
undated
THM/321/65/4 Photographs of interiors and sets
2 folders, 5 items
undated
THM/321/65/5 General reference photographs
15 items, 1 folder
undated
Photographs of sketches, paintings and individuals for reference
THM/321/65/6 Photographs of sketches and paintings by Oliver Messel
2 folders, 3 items
undated
Includes a sketch of the design for the Royal Box and a miscellaneous costume design
THM/321/65/7 Photographic enlargements of Greek vase decorations
1 folder, 5 items
undated

Personal photographs , ca. 1920-ca. 1970
Reference: THM/321/66
Extent: 32 files
This series contains personal and family photographs relating to Oliver Messel.
Reference Description Dates
THM/321/66/1 Portraits of Oliver Messel
2 folders, 14 items
ca. 1920-ca. 1970
Portraits of Oliver Messel spanning his career
THM/321/66/2 Large portraits of Oliver Messel
3 folders, 35 items
ca. 1920-ca. 1970
Large portraits of Oliver Messel spanning his career
THM/321/66/3 Photographs of Oliver Messel at work and in his studio
2 folders, 20 items
ca. 1920-ca. 1950
Includes photographs of Oliver Messel’s studio and Oliver Messel at work
THM/321/66/4 Portraits of unidentified subjects
2 folders, 25 items
ca. 1930-ca. 1940] (bulk unknown)
Various sizes of photograph of male and female subjects
THM/321/66/5 Portraits of Vivien Leigh
1 folder, 2 items
ca. 1930-ca. 1950
THM/321/66/6 Portrait of May West
1 folder, 1 item
undated
The photograph is signed
THM/321/66/7 Portrait of Shirley Temple
1 folder, 1 item
undated
The photograph is signed
THM/321/66/8 Portrait of Paul Tatham
1 folder, 1 item
undated
THM/321/66/9 Portraits of Ronnie Mutebi
1 folder, 2 items
1958 Apr 13
Black and white framed photographs of Ronnie Mutebi on his third birthday
THM/321/66/10 Portraits of Galina Ulanova
1 folder, 2 items
undated
THM/321/66/11 Portrait of Tom Nerman
1 folder, 1 item
undated
THM/321/66/12 Portrait of Doris Castleross
1 folder, 1 item
undated
THM/321/66/13 Portraits of Lewis Cochrane
1 folder, 3 items
undated
Includes photographs of Lewis Cochrane in drag
THM/321/66/14 Portraits of Tyrone Power
1 folder, 2 items
undated
THM/321/66/15 Portraits of Marlene Dietrich
1 folder, 4 items
ca. 1950-ca. 1960
Photographs are signed and black and white
THM/321/66/16 Slides and negatives of portraits of unidentified male subjects
1 folder, 25 items
undated
24 negatives and 1 colour slide of male subjects
THM/321/66/17 Portrait of Anne Ross
1 folder, 1 item
n.d
Portrait is framed
THM/321/66/18 Portraits of Oliver Messel’s parents, Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Charles Rudolf Messel and Maud Frances
1 folder, 2 items
ca. 1920-ca. 1960
1 photograph of Oliver Messel’s father in uniform and a photograph of an elderly woman believed to be Oliver Messel’s mother
THM/321/66/19 Oliver Messel with others at O’Hare exhibition
1 folder, 6 items
ca. 1950-ca. 1970
Photographs of Oliver Messel with the Countess of Ross, Margot Fontayn and Cecil Beaton at the O’Hare exhibition
THM/321/66/20 Oliver Messel at a fancy dress party in Budapest
1 folder, 2 items
undated
Photographs of Oliver Messel in a large group. On the back of both images is written: ‘Fancy dress party at Lilly Halirany’s in Budapest. Year of glamorous night at Drury Lane.’
THM/321/66/21 Oliver Messel with others at fancy dress balls
1 folder, 2 items
ca. 1930-ca. 1970
1 photograph of Oliver Messel at a fancy dress ball wearing a wig and another photograph of Oliver Messel at the fancy dress ball of Anne and Peter Coates
THM/321/66/22 Oliver Messel with a group at the Stork Club
1 folder, 2 items
ca. 1940-ca. 1970
The photographs are duplicates
THM/321/66/23 Oliver Messel with a group at a dinner event
1 folder, 2 items
undated
Oliver Messel in a group with an unknown couple
THM/321/66/24 Photographs of a group at Ashcombe with Ruth Gordon
1 folder, 4 items
undated
Photographs of outdoor scenes at Ashcombe with Ruth Gordon and others
THM/321/66/25 Oliver Messel with Tyrone Powers
1 folder, 2 items
ca. 1940-ca. 1970
The photographs are duplicates
THM/321/66/26 Oliver Messel, his family and friends in group photographs
1 folder, 11 items
undated
Includes a photograph of Oliver Messel’s family home with Lady Rosse and Mrs Tom Renshaw
THM/321/66/27 Oliver Messel with the choreographer George Balanchine
1 folder, 1 item
ca. 1940-ca. 1970
THM/321/66/28 Photographs of unidentified buildings
1 folder, 5 items
1953 (bulk unknown)
Includes a photograph of the coronation in 1953
THM/321/66/29 Oliver Messel’s photographs of Barbados
3 folders, 208 items
undated
Includes negatives and small black and white photographs of Oliver Messel’s time in Barbados
THM/321/66/30 Oliver Messel’s photographs of Africa
7 folder, 113 items
undated
Photographs, negatives, contact sheets and postcards documenting Oliver Messel’s visits to various African countries including Uganda and Zanzibar
THM/321/66/31 Photographs of Oliver Messel with group
1 folder, 4 items
undated
Oliver Messel with a group of officials, possibly from Africa
THM/321/66/32 Photograph of Oliver Messel painting an unidentified woman
1 folder, 1 item
undated
Large black and white photograph signed