Lucas, John Seymour, 1849-1923

Variant names

Hide Profile

Epithet: RA

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001039.0x0001b3

Epithet: painter

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000705.0x00008b

Epithet: RA; FSA

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000705.0x00008c

London experienced an impressive flourishing of the theatrical arts during the late-Victorian period. Spectacle productions took prominence, and theatre managers/actors such as Henry Irving, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Charles Wyndham, and George Alexander (all of whom would eventually be granted knighthood – the first actors to acquire the honor) opened palatial new venues, increased their costume and stage design budgets, stocked their stages with scores of actors during epic plays, and employed companies that sometimes swelled into the many hundreds. Theatres that prospered during this period included the Royal Lyceum, the Criterion, Her Majesty’s, the Palace, the Haymarket Theatre and the St. James.

Henry Irving, in particular, set lavish standards for British theatre at the Royal Lyceum in the late 1800s. Irving first found acclaim with his star turn in Leopold Lewis’ The Bells in 1871, and upon assuming management of the Lyceum in 1878, mounted productions that were increasingly elaborate, pictorial, and Romantic (Richards, 218-258). In a Harvard University lecture, Irving asserted that “music, painting, architecture, the endless variations of costume, have all to be employed with strict regard to the production of an artistic whole” (Irving and Richards, 46). To achieve this high level of unity and splendor, Irving hired leading painters and designers such as Lawrence Alma-Tadema ( Coriolanus, 1901; Cymbeline, 1896), Edward Burne-Jones ( King Arthur, 1895), Ford Madox Brown ( King Lear, 1892), E.W. Godwin ( The Cup, 1881), John Bernard Partridge ( Macbeth, 1888; The Dead Heart, 1889; Ravenswood, 1891; Henry VIII, 1892; King Lear, 1892; Becket, 1893; King Arthur, 1895), Edwin Austin Abbey ( Richard III, 1899), and Charles Cattermole ( Macbeth, 1888; Becket, 1893; King Lear, 1892) to work on costumes, scenery, and souvenir materials. Production designs were often based on painstaking historical research, including trips to the British Museum to study period costumes and, in the case of Faust, a special trip to Nuremberg and Rothenberg to study local scenery (Richards, 226; Stoker, 178-179). Irving, however, was also known to disregard realism in favor of theatrical effect and sumptuousness. “Correctness of costume is admirable,” Irving stated, “and necessary up to a certain point, and when it ceases to be ‘as wholesome as sweet,’ it should, I think, be sacrificed” (Irving and Richards, 46).

Two artists who may be responsible for the drawings in the collection are Charles Cattermole and John Seymour Lucas. Cattermole, a nephew of painter George Cattermole, was a member of the New Watercolour Society, the Royal Society of British Artists, and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Cattermole gained renown for designing 408 costumes for the 1888 production of Macbeth, but also worked on other Irving productions. John Seymour Lucas, a Royal Academician and Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, produced costumes for at least three Irving productions, ( Werner, 1887; Henry VIII, 1892; Ravenswood, 1891), and may have contributed to numerous others. Lucas was an accomplished historical and genre painter, and wrote about his philosophy of dramatic dressing (Richards, 225).

From the guide to the Drawings for the London Stage Collection, 1886-1924, 1886-1897, (Yale Center for British Art)

Relation Name
associatedWith Alexander, George, Sir, 1858-1918 person
associatedWith Allan, Maud person
associatedWith Arthur, Julia, 1869-1950 person
associatedWith Baily, James Thomas Herbert, 1865-1914. person
associatedWith Baylis, Lilian, 1874-1937 person
associatedWith Benson, Frank R. (Frank Robert), 1858-1939 person
associatedWith Bourchier, Arthur, 1863-1927 person
associatedWith Browne, J. H. Balfour (John Hutton Balfour), 1845-1921. person
associatedWith Calvert, Louis, 1859-1923 person
associatedWith Cattermole, Charles, fl. 1859 person
associatedWith Daly, Augustin, 1838-1899 person
associatedWith Daly’s Theatre (London, England). corporateBody
associatedWith Forbes-Robertson, Johnston, Sir, 1853-1937 person
associatedWith Guildhall (London, England). corporateBody
associatedWith Hampton Court (Richmond upon Thames, London, England). corporateBody
associatedWith Harrison, Frederick, 1853 or 4-1926 person
associatedWith Haymarket Theatre (London, England). corporateBody
associatedWith Irving, Henry, Sir, 1838-1905 person
associatedWith Kelly, Walter C., 1873-1939 person
associatedWith Klein, Charles, 1867-1915 person
associatedWith London Coliseum (London, England). corporateBody
associatedWith Lyceum Theatre (London, England). corporateBody
associatedWith Millais, John Everett, Sir, 1829-1896, person
associatedWith Neilson, Julia, b. 1868 person
associatedWith Old Vic Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Old Vic Theatre (London, England). corporateBody
associatedWith Orczy, Emmuska Orczy, Baroness, 1865-1947 person
associatedWith Palace Theatre (London, England). corporateBody
associatedWith Power, Tyrone, 1869-1931 person
associatedWith Rehan, Ada, 1857-1916 person
associatedWith Ristori, Adelaide, 1822-1906 person
associatedWith Robertson, T. W. (Thomas William), 1829-1871 person
associatedWith Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 person
associatedWith Standard Theatre (Shoreditch, London, England). corporateBody
associatedWith Stoker, Bram, 1847-1912 person
associatedWith Tearle, Edmund, 1856-1913 person
associatedWith Terriss, William, d. 1897 person
associatedWith Terry, Ellen, Dame, 1847-1928 person
associatedWith Terry, Fred, 1863-1933 person
associatedWith Tree, Herbert Beerbohm, Sir, 1853-1917 person
associatedWith Vanbrugh, Violet, 1867-1942 person
associatedWith Ward, Genevieve, 1838-1922 person
associatedWith Wills, W. G. (William Gorman), 1828-1891 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Marcham, Berkshire
Langford, Oxfordshire
Padcot, Oxfordshire
Costume design
Costume designers


Birth 1849-12-21

Death 1923-05-08




Ark ID: w6028vfq

SNAC ID: 59189816