An exciting new exhibition on one of Britain’s most prolific playwrights, Noël Coward, has opened at Guildhall Art Gallery. The free event encompasses Coward’s era-defining career, his immense impact on the industry and legendary style.
Originally planned to open in 2020 marking the centenary anniversary of Coward’s West End debut, fans of the celebrated visionary will not be disappointed and will certainly agree it has been worth the wait. Curated by Brad Rosenstein, Noël Coward: Art and Style offers a unique insight into the glitz and glamour of Coward’s theatre and fashion that consistently lifted the spirits of the nation throughout two World Wars and the Great Depression, and continues to inspire today.
Throughout his career Coward regularly collaborated with some of the greatest couturiers of all time, Edward Molyneaux, Norman Hartnell and Victor Steibel to name a few, and is credited with bringing the high octane glamour of high society to the stage. The exhibition is filled with with these impressive costumes as well as pieces from his personal wardrobe which was just as flamboyant for the man who was “determined to travel through life first class,” in silk robes, bright turtlenecks and a long cigarette holder.
Running from June until late December, the immersive space is filled with rare relics and never before seen artefacts from one of theatre’s true greats. From sheet music to original handwritten notes, no stone is left unturned with fascinating pieces of history from classics such as Private Lives, Hay Fever and Design For Living.
‘Coward is especially celebrated for his verbal wit, but the exhibition will remind us that his original productions were also visual feasts for their audiences, a vital element of his theatrical world shaped by the extraordinary designers with whom he worked, and his own brilliance as a director,’ said curator Brad Rosentein, ‘Immaculately dressed, charming, erudite, and devastatingly witty, Noël Coward was an icon of his time, and the exhibition will feature some remarkable pieces of art, costume, and memorabilia to pay tribute to his enduring style and legacy,’ added Guildhall Art Gallery’s Principal Curator Elizabeth Scott.
Noël Coward: Art & Style is open from today until 23 December at Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London