Lot 50
Folio of designs for Ibsen's The Pretenders, 1922

Estimate: $1,200 - $1,800

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About this Lot

Henrik IBSEN (1828-1906). - William GAUNT (1900-1980).

[The Pretenders]: a folio of original unused (?) costume designs for the Oxford University Dramatic Society production of  Ibsen’s 'The Pretenders', staged at  The New Theatre, Oxford, March 1922. 9 sheets of watercolor and pencil costume designs, annotated (largest 11 x 8 inches; 280 x 200mm). - sold with a copy of the original programme.  All within a custom made box.

“The Pretenders was written in bursts during 1863, but Ibsen claimed to have had sources and the idea in 1858. It is a five-act play in prose set in the thirteenth century. The play opened at the old Christiana Theatre on 19 January 1864. The plot revolves around the historical conflict between Norwegian King Hakon Hakonsson and his father-in-law, Earl Skule Bardsson. It has been commonly ascribed to the rivalry between Ibsen and Bjornstjerne Bjornson, who had succeeded Ibsen as director of the Norske Theater in 1857…” (wiki[edia).

The production featured Elizabeth Irving (1903-2003) as Margrete. She was the grand-daughter of Sir Henry Irving, but gave up the stage when she married Sir Felix Brunner. The production was ‘designed and directed by W. Bridges Adams.’ 

“William Gaunt 1900 – 1980 By Ronan Thomas.

William Gaunt was born in 1900, educated at Hull Grammar School and read Modern History at Worcester College, Oxford. … After graduation, Gaunt completed an MA at the Ruskin School of Drawing (1922-1926), trained at the Westminster School of Art and worked as a freelance journalist and editor for The Studio magazine… He went on to enjoy the career of a polymath: as painter, art historian, draughtsman, art critic, special correspondent, war artist, author of illustrated works on the Fine Arts, novelist and travel book writer. In 1930, he exhibited a collection of drawings and paintings – London Promenade - at the Royal Academy and at the Redfern Gallery. He also exhibited work at the Lester Gallery (1932) and at the Reid and Lefevre Galleries (1936). He married Mary Connolly in 1935.

During the Second World War, Gaunt was one of several official war artists commissioned by the War Artists' Advisory Committee (WAAC) to paint London bomb sites. In 1942, he produced a watercolour of the ruins of St Anne’s Church, Soho, burnt out in air raids on 24 September and 7 October 1940.

Over the next four decades, Gaunt established a reputation as a leading fine arts author, specialising in the 19th century. He published over twenty well-received arts books from 1937-1980.” http://www.westendatwar.org.uk/page_id__159.aspx?path=0p4p

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