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Auction of Fonteyn costumes

Posted on May 6, 2014

fonteyn swan lake

fonteyn-swan-lakeTwo costumes worn by Margot Fonteyn are now for sale, auctioned by PFC Auctions. The two costumes – a bodice from Swan Lake and a skirt from Romeo and Juliet – were worn by Fonteyn for performances in the 1960s.

The Swan Lake bodice (pictured above) was designed by Carl Toms for a 1963 production by The Royal Ballet. It was worn during a prologue, created for this production by Frederick Ashton, which showed the heroine Odette being captured by the wicked magician and turned into a swan. The bodice is made of pale soft net, decorated with costume jewellery. Its handwritten label reads: “FONTEYN Prologue”.



fonteyn-romeo-julietThe Romeo and Juliet skirt (pictured left) comes from Kenneth MacMillan’s 1965 production, designed by Nicholas Georgiadis. Worn in the Capulet ball scene, it is made of white silk organza, decorated with fine gold thread and decoration.

Both costumes originate from the personal collection of Hetty Baynes-Russell, a former dancer, actress and wife of the film director Ken Russell. Each item is estimated at £5,000, but there has already been strong interest in the costumes. When Fonteyn’s personal collection was auctioned at Christie’s in 2000, a Swan Lake bodice sold for £64,250, beating its £3,000–£5,000 estimate by 1,185 per cent.

Bidding is now open on the costumes at the PFC Auctions website.


Photographs courtesy of PFC Auctions 



Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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