Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893-1958)
Costume design for Albany in William Shakespeare’s King Lear
Ca. 1917
Charcoal on paper
12 x 9 inches

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Norman Bel Geddes Database

Job 33, King Lear, 1917

Summary: Bel Geddes's designs for this planned Winthrop Ames production of William Shakespeare’s King Lear, although never realized, are nevertheless significant and were exhibited frequently. They reveal that by age 23, Geddes had already formed many of his vital concepts about the theater, articulated in his own remarks on his designs. Geddes described his visualization of the play as “in a mood of pitiless shadow and tempestuous motion, where the primary forces of nature are tearing things from their proper places.” By removing all but a few massive rocks as backdrops and scenery in this rotating theater-in-the-round concept, Geddes sought to highlight the action and actors, rather than the set.

Hunter Code: DR 24
Hunter Guide: page 61

(click image for description)

Box/Location Folder Description
flat file b 1 Scene Renderings --- Watercolor of Lear's Throne.
flat file b 2 Scene Renderings --- Watercolor of Courtyard, Gloucester's Castle.
flat file b 3 Scene Renderings --- Watercolor of Between the Camps.
flat file b 4 Scene Renderings --- Watercolor of Hilltop Near Dover.
flat file b 5 Scene Renderings --- Pastel of the setting "Albany's Castle."
flat file b 5 Scene Renderings --- Pastel of the setting "Albany's Castle."
flat file b 6 Scene Renderings --- Pastel of the setting "Hut on the Heath."
flat file b 7-8 Scene Renderings --- Preliminary studies in sanguine.
flat file c 1-2, 4 Costume Renderings --- "Albany," "Cornwall," unidentified male.
theater box 61 c 3 Costume Renderings --- 10 Sketches and figure poses.
flat file e 1 Preliminary Sketches --- "Stages for King Lear, 1917 to 1919," 7 sketches mounted as if for presentation.
theater box 61 e 1a Preliminary Sketches --- 34 Scene sketches.
flat file e 2 Preliminary Sketches --- 2 Scene sketches.
theater box 61 h 2 Photographs --- Record Copy Book.
flat file h 3 Photographs --- Publicity prints.
theater box 61 i 1 Publicity --- Captions.
theater box 61 i 2 Publicity --- Clippings of published renderings.
theater box 61 j 1 Correspondence --- NBG - Louis Wolheim et al. 1926-1927, 1945-1946.
theater box 61 k 1 Script 1946.
theater box 61 k 2 Script --- Carbon copies.
theater box 61 k 3 Script --- 1915-1916 Cut and paste with 1926 ms. notes.
theater box 61 k 4 Script --- Typed ms. with notes 1926?
theater box 61 p 1 Production Specifications --- Casting lists.
theater box 61 q 1 Source Material --- Clippings.
flat file q 2 Source Material --- Clipping 1930.
theater box 61 x 1 Exhibition material --- Labels.
theater box 61 x 2 Exhibition material --- Sketch of base for model.