Robert Colquhoun - Costume Design for King Lear

Robert Colquhoun - Costume Design for King Lear




Edgar – Costume Design for King Lear, 1953

Signed and dated l.r.: Colqiuhoun ’52, also inscribed u.r.



37 by 23 cm., 14 ½ by 9 in.

(frame size 60 by 45 cm., 23 ½ by 17 ¾ in.)

Born in Kilmarnock, he studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1933 to 1938.  It was there that he met Robert MacBryde who was to be his lifelong partner and professional collaborator.  The “Two Roberts” settled in London in 1941.  Their wide circle of friends included Keith Vaughan, John Minton, Michael Ayrton, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Dylan Thomas and were renowned for their wild social life and parties at their London studio.  His Expressionist and Cubist style was heavily influenced by Picasso.

The present costume design was for George Devine’s 1953 production of King Lear.  Performed at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Colquhoun was commission to design the costumes and sets.  His spare, almost abstract set design contrasted with the vivid colour and rich fabrics of his costumes.  Lear was played by Michael Redgrave and Edgar by Basil Hoskins.  Many of Colquhoun’s designs for this production are in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland.