Percy Anderson

Percy Anderson


Life and career

Beginning with "The Yeomen of the Guard" (1888), Anderson designed the costumes for all the original productions of the Savoy Operas. He continued to design costumes for D'Oyly Carte revivals in the early twentieth century, including for "Trial by Jury, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Patience, Iolanthe, Princess Ida, Ruddigore, The Yeomen of the Guard," and "The Gondoliers." For Tree at His Majesty’s Theatre, Anderson designed "Twelfth Night, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard II, King John, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest", and two plays by Stephen Phillips, "Herod" and "Ulysses"."The Times", 31 October 1928, p.16]

Among Anderson’s other successes were "Kismet" and "Chu Chin Chow" for Oscar Asche, Arthur Wing Pinero's "Trelawny of the Wells, Véronique, Merrie England" at the Savoy, and productions of musical comedies for George Edwardes. He designed the costumes for Henry James’s ill-fated theatrical effort, "Guy Domville"; "The Times" was not impressed by either the play or the costumes. ["The Times", 7 January 1895, p. 13] He designed the costumes for the hit musical "San Toy" in 1899 and the hit British premiere of "The Merry Widow" in 1907 and for many successful musicals. [ [ Article on Lily Elsie, mentioning several musicals with costumes designed by Anderson] ] The Royal Opera House also commissioned Anderson to design costumes in 1900. [ [ Biography of Milka Ternina describing Anderson costumes designed for her] ] Anderson's designs were also used in a number of Broadway productions. [ [ Percy Anderson at the IBDB database] ]

As a painter, Anderson achieved a modest success, and his portraits hang in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, the Louvre, and the British Museum. [ [ Portrait of Winifred Dickinson by Anderson] ] He illustrated the 1907 book, "Costume: Fanciful, Historical and Theatrical". ["Costume: Fanciful, Historical and Theatrical", compiled by Mrs. Eliza Davis Aria. (1907) New York: The Macmillan Company.]

Anderson was in the 1910s closely associated with the young novelist Hugh Walpole, who said of him, ‘He has all the knowledge and reminiscence of his age, and at the same time he doesn’t seem in the very least bit old.’ [Hart-Davis, p. 79] "The Times", in its obituary notice, said of Anderson that he escaped from the pedantry of his predecessors and paved the way in a most interesting manner for Bakst, Claud Lovat Fraser and Gordon Craig.

Anderson died in King’s College Hospital, London, aged 77.


right|thumb|220px|AndersonPrincess Ida", 1921]


*Hart-Davis, Rupert. "Hugh Walpole" (1997) Sutton Publishing, Stroud (orig Macmillan, London, 1952) ISBN 0 7509 1491-2
*Rollins, Cyril and R. John Witts. "The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas" (1961) London: Michael Joseph, Ltd.

External links

* [ Drawings of some Anderson designs]
* [ Anderson costume for Lysander in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Her Majesty's Theatre, 10 January 1900]
* [ 1893 designs for "Utopia, Limited"]
* [ 1919 designs for "The Yeomen of the Guard"]

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