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Costume design for Becket. (Becket Procession, Laurence Olivier). Original gouache


(New York). c.1960
Original signed gouache by Motley depicting a costume design for Laurence Olivier in 'Becket.'

Motley was the name of an English theatre design group that consisted of three sisters, Margaret and Sophie Harris and Elizabeth Montgomery. Their designs were used from 1932 - 1976 for plays, opera, ballet and cinema both across London's West End and New York's Broadway.

The play 'Becket' (or 'The Honor of God') – a depiction of the conflict between Thomas Becket and King Henry II by Jean Anouilh – opened at the St. James Theatre in New York on October 5, 1960. It starred Laurence Olivier as Becket and Anthony Quinn as Henry II. It ran for one hundred and ninety-three performances.

The gouache shows a predominantly purple costume for Becket and is signed 'Motley' in pencil at the figure's foot.

Four fabric samples (various shades of purple), 3 marked 'Tights' (1 'Cloak') are stapled to the illustration. 'Becket' and 'Becket Procession' written in red crayon to top right, ‘Laurence Olivier’ and Rough sketch finished one to follow with different hat’ are written in pencil to lower right.

The verso side shows a figure in armour with a russet coloured shield. It is marked 'Guards' to top right. This side has marks to each corner where it has previously been glued.
Single sheet of thick paper (308 x 240 mm). Illustrated in gouache recto and verso with fabric samples attached to recto.