An original 1921 watercolour painting, Percy Anderson Theatre Costume Design for 'Cairo': Head Woman of the Harem.
A fabulous original costume design by influential English stage designer and painter Percy Anderson (1851-1928). This painting shows the costume designed for the part of Head Woman of the Harem attending Sharazad in the production of ‘Cairo’, a musical comedy performed at His Majesty’s Theatre, London, in 1921. 'Cairo' was written by and starred Oscar Asche, a highly successful actor, writer and director of the period, best known for his record-breaking production ‘Chu Chin Chow’. Please note, the original theatre programme pictured is available to purchase separately.
Much of Percy Anderson’s original design work is held in public collections, in the UK and internationally, and does not often come on to the open market.
In watercolour and gouache on laid paper, laid down on original backing board.
Provenance: The Theatrebarn, Evesham
Unsigned. Inscribed by Anderson in the image: 'sc:III act:I Head Women one of 10 attending Sharazad'. Inscribed and dated verso. Stamped: 'Cairo' verso.
In good condition for its age. The corners of the backing board are slightly worn. The picture may have other minor imperfections, such as slight marks, toning or foxing, commensurate with age. Please see photos for detail.
30.2cm x 22.7cm.
This painting forms part of a collection of original theatrical costume designs that we have for sale by influential designers Percy Anderson and Attilio Comelli. Designs such as these are valuable artefacts of the Edwardian era and the history of stage production. Edwardian musical comedy was immensely popular - and captured the optimism, energy and good humour of the new century as well as providing comfort during the First World War. Produced in an age before mass photography, these colour designs form the only remaining record of the costumes which made up these productions.
Percy Anderson (1851-1928) had private means and was part of a wealthy artistic and bohemian circle, which included Lord Ronald Gower, the courtier Alec Yorke and Charles Hamilton Aide. Anderson has been described as ‘lover’ of the novelist Hugh Walpole and through him met the novelist Joseph Conrad, whose portrait Anderson painted (now in the National Portrait Gallery, London).
Percy Anderson designed the costumes for all the original productions of the Savoy Operas and continued to design costumes for the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, as well as for The Royal Opera House and Broadway amongst others. His design work was particularly innovative and has influenced many future designers in England as well as the United States. He thoroughly researched the period of the play to inform his design choices, sharing his research in numerous articles and being the first costume designer to define elements such as line, colour and texture.
Much of his work is held in public collections internationally and does not often come on to the open market. His designs are in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, National Library of Australia and The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin. His portraits can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery and British Museum in London and the Louvre, Paris.
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Product code: JM-181