Hugo Rumbold

Hugo Rumbold

Hugo Cecil Levinge Rumbold (1884 – 1932) was a British stage designer.

Life and career

Rumbold was the son of Sir Horace Rumbold, eighth baronet of Woodhall (1829–1913), and his second wife, Louisa Anne (d. 1940), daughter of Thomas Russell Crampton. His elder half-brother was the diplomat Sir Horace Rumbold, 9th Baronet of Woodhall. [Otte, T. G., ‘Rumbold, Sir Horace George Montagu, ninth baronet (1869–1941)’ in "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 10 Nov 2007] ]

Rumbold went to Eton College in 1897. He served in World War I in the Grenadier Guards, when he was wounded and received the Belgian Order of the Crown. In civilian life he was sometimes referred to by his military title of Captain H C L Rumbold. ["The Times", 21 November 1932, p.19]

tage design

" in 1913; [cite news
title=HUGO RUMBOLD ATTACKS REALISM IN STAGE SCENERY; Thinks Belasco and Tree Are Wrong ;- "Blatant Realism" in Setting and Decoration Declared to Detract from Acting.
work=New York Times
] "The Right to Kill" a melodrama set in Turkey staged by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree at His Majesty's Theatre; ["The Times", 5 May 1915, p. 13] and Charles Villiers Stanford's opera "The Critic" (based on Sheridan's play of the same name) at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1916, of which "The Times" said, "Mr Hugo Rumbold apparently carries the 18th century atmosphere about in his pocket." ["The Times", 13 January 1916; p. 11] He also designed "L'Apres Midi d'un Faune" in 1916. [ [ Profile of Claud Lovat Fraser] ] For Sir Thomas Beecham, he designed revivals of "La fille de Madame Angot", by Alexandre Charles Lecocq, and Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. ["The Times", 30 June 1919, p. 10]

After the war, he designed a revival of George Bernard Shaw's "Arms and the Man" at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1919, ["The Times", 12 December 1919, p. 12] and "The Tempest" for Viola Tree's company at the Aldwych Theatre in 1921, for which he undertook scenery as well as costume design. ["The Times" 2 February 1921, p. 8]

Rumbold was commissioned by Rupert D'Oyly Carte to dress a 1918 revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience," in succession to W. S. Gilbert, who designed the original costumes, and Percy Anderson, who dressed the 1907 revival. Some of Rumbold's costumes (for the 'everyday young girls') were retained by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company until Peter Goffin's new designs were introduced in 1957. [Rollins, Cyril and R. John Witts. "The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas" (1961) London: Michael Joseph, Ltd.]

Other theatrical work

In 1920 Rumbold acted as impresario, producing Darius Milhaud's new ballet, "Le Bœuf sur le toit" at the Coliseum Theatre, under the title "The Nothing Doing Bar". ["The Times", Monday, 12 July 1920, p. 12] This departure from his milieu was noted in his obituary notice in "The Times", which said:

:He was essentially a Bohemian and a clubman, who was witty and amusing who always tried to pass on his zest for life to others.... Later, he took to film-producing. He was indeed something of a dilettante and dabbler in many pursuits. Had he been more of a "sticker" he would have made more of a name for himself. ["The Times", 25 November 1932, p.19]

With Zoe Akins, he wrote "The Human Elephant", a play in three acts adapted from the short story of that title by Somerset Maugham. [ [ List of manuscripts] ]

Personal life

Rumbold's personal life was not wholly conventional. He was a member of Noel Coward's set, with a penchant for cross-dressing in pursuit of comic turns at parties, [Hoare, Philip: "Noel Coward" (1995), Sinclair-Stevenson, London, ISBN 1-85619-265-2, p. 107] and in the last year of his life he married the dramatist Zoe Akins, who is believed to have been bisexual. [ [ Profile of Zoe Akins] ]

Rumbold died in Pasadena, California, USA at the age of 48, from illness caused by his injuries in World War I. ["The Times", 21 November 1932, p.19]


External links

*cite news
title=ROMEO WILL WOO WITHOUT A BALCONY; Iconoclastic Scenery and Costumes Designed for Faversham by an English Artist.
work=New York Times
] ", 1913]
* [ Rumbold's IBDB entry]
*cite book
title=Katharine the Great
author=Darwin Porter
publisher=Blood Moon Productions, Ltd.

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