Monday, August 12, 2013

Drawing of the Day: Wilhelm Pantomime Designs, 1890

William Charles Pitcher, RI
The  Victoria & Albert Museum

Known professionally as "Wilhelm," William Charles Pitcher RI, (1858-1925) is remembered in theatrical circles as one of Britain's most ingenious and influential costume designers. Wilhelm's love of the theatre started at an early age, and, with dreams of being part of the spectacles he so admired, as a young man, he started his career designing pantomime costumes for Drury Lane Theatre. There, he made such an impression on theatre managers, producers and the public that he became a much sought-after commodity for the remainder of his career. Known for his attention to detail and fine understanding of color as well as character, Wilhelm is credited as producing some of the most stunning costumes in British theatre history.

Wilhelm designed this costume for the actress Miss Vera Dudleigh for her role as "Sunshine" (The Spirit of Light) in the pantomime "Dick Whittington" which opened at The Crystal Palace on Christmas Eve, 1890. 

The gold gown of semi-transparent fabric is fixed with three, small electrical lights which served to illuminate the gown, the matching cape and dramatic golden wings. Her headpiece and wand were also set with a single light each.

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