Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Oliver Messel

Great Britain’s leading theatre designer from the early 1930s to the mid 1950s, Oliver Messel (1904-1978) won international acclaim for his lavish, painterly and poetic designs informed by period styles. His work spans ballet, drama, film, musical, opera and revue. I am so mesmerized by these detailed, gouache painted sets - miniature constructions! They are incredible. Messel’s traditional style of theatre design became unfashionable from the mid 1950s onwards, and he increasingly concentrated on painting, interior and textile design, including designing luxury homes in the Caribbean. Oliver Messel came from a wealthy, well-connected family and when his nephew, Anthony Armstrong-Jones (Earl of Snowdon), married HRH Princess Margaret, a life-long relationship with the British royalty began. Messel was later to design Les Jolies Eaux, Princess Margaret’s home on Mustique Island in The Grenadines. In 1959, Messel, exhausted by a demanding theatre season and recurring arthritis, retreated to Barbados and the lush beauty of the eastern Caribbean. He was 55 and at the peak of a career in which he had dazzled three decades of theatre-goers with his fantastic, romantic and inspired stage sets and costumes. The warmth, colour and vibrancy of the tropics seemed to liberate new sources of energy and imagination, leading him to what would eventually become a whole new career in designing, building and transforming homes. Not content to rest there, he also designed many furnishings for these homes, particularly for outdoor use. Cote de Texas did a wonderful post on 'Mr. Barbados' showcasing his interior design work. ****You are about to enter the website of the largest private estate available for exclusive rental in Barbados.****


Kitty said...

very cool! (see, if you had your comments off, you would not have known how much i like it!) can't stop thinking about Boho getting harangued, btw!

Cote de Texas said...

thanks for the shout out- BUT these are just gorgeous! I've never seem. so wonderful - he was a true character and talent at the same time.

thanks again!!!

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