Sims Reed Rare Books×

Designs for The Merchant of Venice

Motley Studio?

A large collection of original designs for 'The Merchant of Venice'.

The collection consists of a highly striking gouache of a masked scene at night (on a large sheet of brown paper, 410 x 330 mm), a further scene marked 'Belmont', various costume studies for groups of actors (4 sheets) and the majority (16 sheets) are costume studies for single characters, as follows:

- 'Antonio of Belmont' (unnamed female study verso)
- 'Portia as the Doctor of Law'
- 'Portia at End'
- 'Jessica', ('Taffeta dress, painted stripes, black pearls'), (2 versions, 2nd unnamed)
- 'Bassanio at Belmont'
- 'Arragon'
- 'Jessica at End,' (with rudimentary pencil sketch verso)
- 'Count dignitary' (on thick card)
- 'Gratiano Venice' (rudimentary pencil sketch verso)
- 'Gratiano at End'
- 'Morocco,' ('wine and gelatine crown...'), with sketch verso
- 'Figure at Carnival' (sketch verso)
- 'Old bobbo'
- 'Venetian Gadler' (sketch verso)
- One unnamed in green and black design, sketch verso.

These works closely resemble designs by Motley. They were likely created for the 1967 production of The Merchant of Venice at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket (London).

22 loose sheets. (21 of which measure 250 x 370 mm, and one 410 x 330 mm on brown paper stock). Set and costume designs in watercolour and gouache, most with pencilled annotations.