I have recently been working at a performing arts school cataloguing their extensive costume collection. Among the costumes stored in the cellar and no longer used by the school I found a unique set of ballet costumes dating from the early days of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet and Royal Ballet Companies. I found over 100 costumes from the 1954 production of Coppelia designed by Osbert Lancaster. I also found one costume from Homage to the Queen, 1953 and another costume from the Sleeping Beauty, (1946 but probably from a later remake) both designed by Oliver Messel. I am now trying to find  new homes for these unique pieces of ballet and costume history.

Homage to the Queen - skirt detail
Homage to the Queen – skirt detail
A Nymph from Sleeping Beauty - bodice and skirt detail
A Nymph from Sleeping Beauty – bodice and skirt detail
The Spanish Doll, Coppelia
The Spanish Doll, Coppelia
Swanhilda's Act 1 costume - apron detail. Coppelia
Swanhilda’s Act 1 costume – apron detail, Coppelia

These are really beautiful pieces and it makes you wonder what other costumes are lurking forgotten in cellars, cupboards and attics! Do get in touch if you know of any.

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