The Russian Ballet Performing The Dance of the Poodles from La Boutique Fantasque

The Russian Ballet Performing The Dance of the Poodles from La Boutique Fantasque



Robin Darwin was born in Chelsea in 1910. He was the great-grandson of Charles Darwin, author of The Origin of Species. Educated at Eton, he went on to study painting at the Slade in 1929. He began his professional career as art master at Watford grammar school in 1933 and at the age of only twenty-three was appointed to Eton in the same capacity. At Eton he quickly proved himself an inspiring teacher and within a year had turned the drawing schools into a vital centre of the college’s daily life. In 1936, the year of the present work, he held a one-man show of Paintings of the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet at Agnew. Soon after the outbreak of war in 1939 he went to the camouflage directorate of the Ministry of Home Security in Leamington Spa, of which he became secretary. Towards the end of the War he moved to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning and in 1945 was appointed education officer in the newly formed Council of Industrial Design. In 1946 he was appointed director of the King Edward VII School of Art in Newcastle upon Tyne and Professor of Fine Art at Durham University but in 1948 he returned to London to take up the post of Principal of the Royal College of Art. As an artist his paintings have an exuberance that reflected his own nature. He painted landscape and portraits and exhibited regularly at the Redfern Gallery, Leicester Galleries, Agnew and at the Royal Academy. He was elected ARA in 1966 and RA in 1972. La Boutique Fantasque, also known as The Magic Toyshop or Fantastic Toyshop is a one act ballet conceived by Leonide Massine, who devised the choreography for a libretto written with the artist Andre Derain, a pioneer of Fauvism. Derain also designed the set and costumes for the ballet. Ottorino Respighi composed the music based on piano pieces by Gioachina Rossini. Its world premiere was at the Alhambra Theatre in London on 5 June 1919, performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.


Height 154.94 cm / 61 "
Width 129.54 cm / 51 "