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Dorothy Ward

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Artist: OLIVER MESSEL

REF
1961
Height
135.89 cm (53 1/2")
Width
86.36 cm (34")
Framed Height
190.5 cm (75")
Framed Width
138.43 cm (54 1/2")
Born in London, his mother being the daughter of the Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne and his father a soldier and stockbroker. After Eton he studied art at the Slade under Henry Tonks; Rex Whistler was a fellow student. Although his studies concentrated on life drawings he also made papier mache and wax masks for student events and an exhibition of these masks at the Claridge Galleries in 1925 let to his first theatre design commission for the Diaghilev ballet production of Zeephyre et Flore. By the early 1930s had established himself as one of Britain’s principal designers for the stage. He went on to design for many theatrical, operatic, ballet and film productions becoming one of the most highly paid and sought after theatre designers in the world.



His books included Stage Designs and Costumes, 1933; Designs for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1957 and Delightful Food, 1958. He held one-man exhibitions at the Leicester Galleries and Redfern Gallery, designed interiors and gardens of the Dorchester Hotel, Flaxley Abbey, Gloucestershire and elsewhere as well as several houses and grounds in Barbados and Mustique. The Victoria & Albert Museum hold the majority of his design archives.



Dorothy Ward (1890-1987) was an English actress specialising in pantomime performances, often along side her husband Shaun Glenville, when she would play the principal boy. Messel is known to have designed her costume on several occasions. Their son was the actor and director Peter Glenville who at one time had and affair with Messel. Messel’s portrait of Glenville was sold at Christie’s New York in 2011.
Height
135.89 cm (53 1/2")
Width
86.36 cm (34")
Framed Height
190.5 cm (75")
Framed Width
138.43 cm (54 1/2")
More Information
Year                 c 1935
Medium                 Watercolour and pencil
Country                 United Kingdom
Signed                 Signed and inscribed: To Dorothy with love from Oliver
Provenance                 The sitter, and by descent to her niece.
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