Ref NoOHM
TitleThe Personal Papers of Oliver Messel
DescriptionOliver Messel was a well regarded theatre, ballet and film designer during the first half of the twentieth century. His first professional commissions were to design masks for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes' production of Zephyr et Flore and for one of C.B. Cochran's London stage Revues. Among his stage and screen credits were the costume designs for the films The Scarlet Pimpernel, Romeo and Juliet, Caesar and Cleopatra and the set design for Suddenly Last Summer (for which he was nominated for an Oscar) as well as the ballets The Sleeping Beauty (first performed in 1946 and revived many times since then around the world) as well as various operas for Glyndebourne. In 1966, Messel retired to Barbados for health and financial reasons. During his time in Barbados, he turned his hand to architecture, designing villas for friends in Barbados and on the nearby private island of Mustique, where he designed a villa (Les Jolies Eaux) for his nephew's bride HRH Princess Margaret. The personal papers of Oliver Messel contain some correspondence and material relating to his professional commissions in theatre, opera, ballet and film as well as correspondence, sketches and photographs relating to his architectural commissions. There is also material relating to Messel's private artwork since he had originally trained as a portrait painter and continued to paint throughout his life, as well as other aspects of his design talent, including fabric design, interior design and designs for parties. There are also photographs of Messel's friends, acquaintances and of visits to various places.
Date1920s-1978
Related MaterialThe V&A Theatre and Performance collection in London holds a related collection of the professional papers of Oliver Messel. This collection is composed of material that was left in storage at Kensington Palace when Messel moved to Barbados in 1966. On Messel's death it was bequeathed to his nephew Lord Snowdon who transferred it to the V&A, initially on long loan before it was purchased by the V&A.
FormatPrinted Material
Photograph
Artwork
Manuscript
Extent70 boxes
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