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Penguinboysmum

Can any one help identify the ballets?

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Hi

 

Not sure if this is the right place to post but will start here anyway.

 

My father painted this painting back in 1948 while studying at Dundee Art college. All I know is it is a design for a theatre safety curtain. I would love to be able to identify the ballet/ballets depicted if possible and thought here might be the best place to ask. 

 

I believe part of the painting is a scene from de Valois' 'Checkmate'.

 

Thanks in advance.

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What a wonderful painting, I really like it! Yes, you're right - definitely Checkmate: there's the Black Queen centre front on the floor and the chess board on the right. I would assume that the two other figures represent two other ballets, part of a triple bill. I'm sorry, I can't identify them , but am hoping that someone here can solve the mystery. 

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7 minutes ago, Darlex said:

What a wonderful painting, I really like it! Yes, you're right - definitely Checkmate: there's the Black Queen centre front on the floor and the chess board on the right. I would assume that the two other figures represent two other ballets, part of a triple bill. I'm sorry, I can't identify them , but am hoping that someone here can solve the mystery. 

 

Thank you. It's quite poignant in our house at the moment as my son (who was born several years after his death) is heading off to the Hammond in September to study ballet/dance.

Edited by PenguinBoysMum
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I wouldn't be surprised if the male figure was from The Rake's Progress. The V and A online collection has many costume design to view. It might be laborious, but  may yield some results and they have some real treasures to see. I did wonder if part of the picture represented mirrors or cards and Mirror for Witches and Card Game came to mind, but they were both post 1948.

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Very interesting! He must have seen Checkmate before doing the front cloth tho the ballet did not have many performances in 1947-8 according to the ROH database. http://www.rohcollections.org.uk/production.aspx?production=6241&row=0 I suggest he may have imagined suitable costumes for the other two ballets. The triple bill that appears likeliest is either the Helpmann Hamlet/ Lac Act 2/ Checkmate one on Nov 18 1947 or Nov 22nd, Boutique fantasque/ Sylphides/ Checkmate.  If he was a student in Dundee in 1948 he must have made a London trip before then? Presuming his painting was a design exercise or wishful vision it could be a merge of those. In fact both the Hamlet and Sylphides costumes had differences from those pictures but front cloths are never exact depictions ( by their nature they can’t be). The triple mirror behind the ballerina is very distinctive but not at all like the sets for any of the possible ballets, so might be an artist’s symbol for the 3 ballets. It’s a rather lovely picture. 

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I suppose it might not have been a triple bill either.

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Thank You.

 

Unfortunately I know little of my father's early life. He was 23 when he painted this and all I know of his time before that was he joined the RAF during the latter stages of WW2 and was shipped out to Canada to train and then he travelled a bit post war prior to returning to Dundee.

 

He will probably have told me the story behind the painting but I will have been too young to fully appreciate it and take it all in. I'm fairly certain it was a design piece as part of a project so a brief may have been given, possibly pictures to work from or it may have been completely conceptual. 

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The Checkmate designs were very new then and much discussed. No doubt in art colleges too. The male figure in the painting looks possibly influenced by the celebrated artist Edward Burra who was designing quite a bit for Sadler’s Wells Ballet at the time (and had Scottish relatives incidentally). Plenty of potential hooks there to chase. 

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Two possibilities to identify the character with the white billowy  dress with bulbous sleeves: photo 1- 1940 THE WISE VIRGINS by Ashton, to Bach arr. by Walton (Fonteyn & Somes)

photo 2- 1943 THE QUEST by Ashton, to Walton score (Fonteyn & Edwards)

I’ll try to upload photos in next two posts.

Edited by Jeannette

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p.s. My vote is for WISE VIRGINS. I remember seeing another photo of Fonteyn dancing a solo from this ballet, in this exact costume, at the 1970 gala tribute to Sir Fred at the ROH. That memory of Fonteyn in that white gown is what led me this morning to go through my books. I knew that I had seen that dress before!

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What a lovely painting...skilful drawing, brilliant colour choice and great composition. Did your father have an artistic career?

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5 hours ago, Richard LH said:

What a lovely painting...skilful drawing, brilliant colour choice and great composition. Did your father have an artistic career?

 

Thank you. He went on to become a chartered surveyor in the civil service so not particularly artistic. 

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9 hours ago, Jeannette said:

p.s. My vote is for WISE VIRGINS. I remember seeing another photo of Fonteyn dancing a solo from this ballet, in this exact costume, at the 1970 gala tribute to Sir Fred at the ROH. That memory of Fonteyn in that white gown is what led me this morning to go through my books. I knew that I had seen that dress before!

 

Thank you. 

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9 hours ago, Jeannette said:

Two possibilities to identify the character with the white billowy  dress with bulbous sleeves: photo 1- 1940 THE WISE VIRGINS by Ashton, to Bach arr. by Walton (Fonteyn & Somes)

photo 2- 1943 THE QUEST by Ashton, to Walton score (Fonteyn & Edwards)

I’ll try to upload photos in next two posts.

Although the lady in white is a blonde. Artistic licence?

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21 hours ago, ismeneb said:

The triple mirror behind the ballerina is very distinctive but not at all like the sets for any of the possible ballets, so might be an artist’s symbol for the 3 ballets. It’s a rather lovely picture. 

 

Something that looks like a triple mirror formed part of the set for 'The Haunted Ballroom':

https://www.flickr.com/photos/crossettlibrary/16592603783

 

 

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