Conservation stories: Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes

The V&A holds the largest collection of Ballets Russes costumes in the world. Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance, and V&A conservation specialists take us behind the scenes as they prepare key objects, costumes and a giant stage cloth for display in the major 2010 exhibition 'Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909 – 1929'.

Installing the Le Train Bleu backdrop

Designed by Pablo Picasso and painted by Prince Alexander Schervachidze, this gigantic stage cloth was used for the Ballets Russes production of Le Train Bleu, 1924. Its huge size means it has rarely been seen since its stage debut, and it two weeks to install in the gallery for the exhibition Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909 – 1929. Having worked on a number of productions for Diaghilev, Picasso went on to become the most famous artist of the 20th century.

This content was originally produced in association with the exhibition Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909 – 1929, on display at the V&A 25 September 2010 – 9 January 2011.

Background image: Stage cloth for 'Le Train Bleu', designed by Pablo Picasso, 1924. Museum no. S.316-1978. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London