Costume Design for Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Costume Design for Die Entführung aus dem Serail



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. Mozart’s comic opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) was one of four Mozart operas performed at Glyndebourne in 1956 to celebrate the bi-centenary of his birth. Messel’s exuberant designs were inspired by 18th century western European art and design and its fascination for the Orient. In harmony with the spirit of Mozart’s opera, he borrowed motifs from engravings and paintings of Turkish buildings and dress to create an exotic Oriental set and costumes.


Height 90.17 cm / 35 "
Width 60.96 cm / 24 "
Framed height 133.35 cm / 52 "
Framed width 101.6 cm / 40 "