Jocelyn Herbert: Design for Film

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Jocelyn Herbert: Design for Film

From the Jocelyn Herbert Archive at the National Theatre

Workbook #3

Cover photo: Jocelyn Herbert, polaroid (1968) and text related to the production of ‘The Whales of August’ (1969). From the Jocelyn Herbert Archive at the National Theatre JH/3/101.

Jocelyn Herbert: Design for Film From the Jocelyn Herbert Archive at the National Theatre



We would like to thank Cathy Courtney and Eileen Hogan for introducing us to this archive and supporting this curatorial project, Erin Lee and Jennie Borzykh from the National Theatre Archive for making the exhibition and Workbook #3 possible, and Pawel Jaskulski for providing the digital scans. We would also like to thank Donald Smith for mentoring us throughout the exhibition, Cherie Silver and Michael Iveson for providing technical support for the installation. Workbook #3 is created and edited by: Ryan Blakeley, Sofia Corrales Akerman , Maximilian Jones, Georgia Keeling, Maria Kobzareva, Deborah Lim, Nadine Cordial Settele, Chinmayi Swami. All photos of items from the archive for this Workbook were taken by Maria Kobzareva unless stated otherwise.














Jocelyn Herbert (1917-2003) was one of Britain’s most influential and prominent theatre designers. Herbert studied at the Slade School of Art and worked at the London Theatre Studio before joining George Devine’s English Stage Company (ESC) at the Royal Court Theatre in 1956. She would design 40 productions for the ESC, including Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape (1958) and David Storey’s Home (1970). Throughout her life, Herbert remained loyal to the writers and directors whom she worked with during these formative and critically acclaimed years at the Royal Court. Alongside her career in theatre design, she also worked as production designer on films by Tony Harrison, Tony Richardson and Lindsay Anderson, as well as on Karel Reisz’s Isadora (1968). It is this perhaps lesser known but equally remarkable aspect of her career in film that takes the focus of this exhibition Jocelyn Herbert: Design for Film. This exhibition explores and celebrates Herbert’s life and work through these six films - Isadora (Reisz, 1968), Hamlet (Richardson, 1969), The Whales of August (Anderson, 1986), Ned Kelly (Richardson, 1970), The Hotel New Hampshire (Richardson, 1984) and Prometheus (Harrison, 1998). Using archival material from the National Theatre Archive we have researched her biorgraphy and three sections of her practice - costume design, set design and production design, and process. 6

BIOGRAPHY Maximilian Jones Paul Davey Gaia Giacomelli Georgia Keeling

Jocelyn Herbert will always be remembered for her revolutionary work in the field of theatre stage design. She was a champion of the design aesthetic of the Royal Court, a pioneer of simple yet atmospheric set design, adopting a minimalist approach with the determination to remove anything inessential in order to serve the original text in the purest possible manner. Her combination of visual and textual sensitivity was unrivalled and her contribution was fundamental to the success of many of the Royal Court’s most noteworthy productions such as Krapp’s Last Tape (1958), The Kitchen (1959) and Home (1970). Her approach transformed the way in which audiences came to view stage design and her unique combination of talent, determination and self-deprecation won her the respect of many of her peers. While Herbert’s work on theatrical productions should rightly be described as the main focus of her career, she also worked extensively on operatic and film productions as well, serving as a reminder of her incredibly diverse talents. She became well-known for her costume work and production design on films such as Ned Kelly (1970) and Oh Lucky Man! (1973) and her experience as a theatre stage designer served her well while working on the designs for If… (1968) and The Whales of August (1987).


Maximilian Jones Despite the praise she received for many of the films she was involved with, Herbert made it quite apparent that film was not her true medium, citing a lack of control with regard to the imagery, an element she considered to be firmly within the director’s domain. While Herbert was highly selective when it came to the stage productions she worked on, she felt less personally involved when it came to films. However, her steadfast commitment to her work overshadowed these reservations and the set and costume designs she produced for the films were undeniably as impressive as those she created for her theatrical productions. This dedication is perhaps best described in The Long-Distance Runner (1993), the autobiography of the prolific theatre and film director Tony Richardson with whom Herbert collaborated on numerous occasions. He speaks of her 100 percent commitment to every project she took on while his other associates were always melting into thin air. The material I have selected for this exhibition are made up of periodical articles of which Jocelyn Herbert is the focus. Some of these articles were published during Herbert’s lifetime while others are obituary articles that would have been added to her archive posthumously. They provide a range of insights concerning Herbert’s approach to stage, set and costume design and also her attitude towards film and theatre more generally.

JH 2/55/3 Strachan, A. (2003, May 9) 'Jocelyn Herbert: Spare, unfussy innovator in late-20th-Century stage design' – The Independent

JH 2/29/4 Peachment, C. (1988, February 16) ‘Money is not the Object’ – The Times


Paul Davey Jocelyn Herbert’s sketchbooks have provided researchers with a unique insight into her life and work. Each are filled with sketches of design ideas, drawings of friends and family, intertwined with various notes and lists that represent the routines of daily life. The drawings represented here are from Herbert’s own sketchbooks, which she was working on at the time of filming Isadora (1968). Each drawing has been created with little purpose to Herbert’s professional work. They have been drawn for pleasure - from her own memory. The pages in Herbert’s sketchbook begin to bridge the gap between her professional and private life – they show her thoughts and opinions, her relationships with her friends and colleagues, but they also show us how important her work was to her.

JH/3/40B, Vi in TV Studio, (c.1968), The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.

JH/3/39, Camera Operator Lewiston on the Set of Isadora, (1968), The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


THE WHALES OF AUGUST (1987) Gaia Giacomelli, Georgia Keeling In 1986, Lindsay Anderson began shooting The Whales of August (1987), a film adapted from David Berry’s 1981 play of the same name. The film features two elderly Hollywood stars, Bette Davis and Lillian Gish, playing two widowed sisters spending their summer in a seaside house on Maine’s Cliff Island. Jocelyn Herbert first met and collaborated with Lindsay Anderson while working as part of George Devine’s English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre. During their professional relationship, which lasted for more than 24 years (The Telegraph, 2003), Lindsay and Herbert collaborated together a total of 13 times. Herbert worked as the production designer on three of Anderson’s films including the Palme d’Or winning If… (1968), O Lucky Man! (1973) and The Whales of August (1987). In September 1986, Herbert spent just over one month living and working alongside the cast and crew on Cliff Island during her final cinematic collaboration with Anderson. Herbert kept a detailed record of her time in Maine in her notebooks, and one can trace a vivid picture of her personality and the atmosphere on set through her words, photographs and sketches. From poetic verses to slogans on food packaging that she found amusing, Herbert’s notebooks reveal a keen and ever-curious eye, documenting the world around her insightfully and sensitively. This sensitivity also enabled her to make discerning psychological portraits of her co-workers, including Anderson, Lillian Gish and the notoriously difficult Bette Davis. L.G is v. frail because she is v. old - 85-90 [Gish was 90 during the time of filming] - but so natural and enchanting that she charms everyone she meets. B.D is the opposite - believe she has been v. ill and still looks far from well - and a bitter caustic nature - she has to make rows to assert herself…I imagine she is v. lonely… Her relationship with Anderson was also a demanding one – the extensive correspondence they shared during their lifetime showed a respectful and heartfelt friendship, but working with him often proved to be frustrating for Herbert. Does Lindsay have to pick on people and humiliate them in front of everyone else more when he is nervous and less confident himself in order to convince himself that he is always right – which is NOT always the case. Can only go on working with him because finally he is very talented and always interesting… However, she remained professional and determined to do her job, even as the atmosphere on set grew more negative and chaotic. Herbert’s resourceful and generous nature, alongside the extensive creative output shown in her notebooks, reveal how she was able to make light of an experience that was often very difficult. I am afraid the result is to make me not go before the end – much as I would like to – but I also cannot trust the art Dept – if I am not there – it is a very ignominious situation. [I] Think he [Lindsay] would be quite happy for me to go… he never consults me about anything unless he is in a jam or thinks up something new – can’t imagine why I thought this film would be any different – of course I was a fool – but I don’t regret it as I really am glad to have been to Maine and also to have been part of what must be the most bizarre movie ever made.

JH/3/101, Journal kept while filming The Whales of August (1986) The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London


COSTUME DESIGN Ilke Alkan Benedetta Bianchi Juanita Escobar Bravo Roger Chen Sofia Corrales Zizhen Cheng Golnoosh Heshmati Yuen Yu Ho

This part of the show Jocelyn Herbert: Design for Film focuses on Jocelyn Herbert’s practice as a costume designer. Showcasing materials belonging to the National Theatre Archive, the aim is to show Jocelyn’s processes and production for the design of Isadora (1968). In this way, the specific character of the American modern dancer is analyzed through the use of costume. The space shows Jocelyn’s research files, notebooks, and her creative process through drawing. In addition, a projection of excerpts from the movie, directed by Karel Reisz, is presented.


ISADORA (1968) Ilke Alkan, Benedetta Bianchi, Juanita Escobar Bravo, Roger Chen, Sofia Corrales, Zizhen Cheng, Golnoosh Heshmati, Yuen Yu Ho Costume Design is often seen as something that defines the identity of the character (ADG Art, 2017). Throughout history, clothing has served many purposes. It has served to differentiate sexes, designate ages, occupational, marital and socio-economic status, group membership and other social roles that individual plays (Tortora et al., 1999, p. 2). Costume designers seek to enhance a character’s persona, within the framework of the director’s vision, through the way a character is dressed. Consequently, costume represents an external mirror of the personality of the different characteristics inhabiting each person. At the same time, the designer must ensure that the designs allow the actor to move in a manner consistent and pertinent with the historical period that is reproduced in the movie.

(Top) JH/2/51/1. Iris, Postcard, Image of a statue about 435 B.C. from the British Museum, West Pediment of the Parthenon (N). The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London. (Bottom) JH/4/35/1398. Isadora- Marche Slav Sketch of costume for Isadora on stage, watercolour on paper. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London

JH/2/51/1. (1)Hestia, and (2) The Hesperidae, Postcards of the statutes, about 435 B.C. from the British Museum. East pediment of the Parthenon (K, L,M). The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.

Isadora is a biographical film based on the story of an American dancer and her struggle as a woman rebelling against the strict rules governing the dance form of ballet during her lifetime, choosing to pursue the practice of natural and free dance instead (Carter and Fensham, 2011, p. 2). The inspiration for this new style of dance was based on her investigation of Ancient Greek art, as a reaction to the undulating lines she observed in the figures. Herbert recognised this influence and researched Ancient Greek techniques for draping fabrics and costumes in order to replicate Isadora's personality and dance movements. Moreover, Isadora compared her dance style to the rhythmic unity that permeates all manifestations of nature (Art of the Dance, p. 102).

JH/4/35/1443. Isadora- Spring Dance, Masonic Temple, Ink on paper, Sketch of costume for Isadora on stage. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London. 18

Similarly, Herbert was engaged in the understanding of the characters. With regard to the National Theatre Archive, it can be seen that Herbert had sound understanding about Isadora’s character and dance. Hence reflected this understanding in designing Isadora’s costumes. The costumes of Isadora replicate her personality and her movements in dance. Significantly, Herbert unifies Isadora’s personality and movements. Isadora Duncan’s biographer, Sewell Stokes, and producer Robert Hakim had both had Vanessa Redgrave in their sights as she reminded them of Isadora Duncan (Adler, 2012). Her suitability for the role was appreciated in a review of the film: “Miss Redgrave is not particularly impressive as a dancer, and her body, a lot of which gets exposed during the movie, is not as ripe as I'd imagine Isadora Duncan's to have been, but the actress projects such purity and beauty that the other deficiencies do not matter» (Canby, 1996). The material exhibited aims to present the process and production of Herbert’s designs for Isadora. Specifically, Herbert’s postcards of Greek art at the British Museum show her fundamental studies into Isadora’s inspirations. In addition, some of Herbert’s sketches have been selected to support her profound skills and careful process. Subsequently, shots of the film have been chosen to show the end result of Herbert’s work, alongside a selection of final costume drawings.

JH/2/51/2. Photograph of Vanessa Redgrave (Isadora Duncan), dancing in rehearsal. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


SETS AND PRODUCTION DESIGN Maria Kobzareva Malou Siegfried Hao Deng Yanbin Zhang Ksenia Stepanova Chinmayi Swami

This section of the exhibition focuses on Herbert’s work on the production of the sets for the films Isadora (1968), The Whales of August (1987), Hamlet (1969), The Hotel New Hampshire (1984) and Prometheus (1998). It examines different aspect of her approach to set design through a range of media including notes, sketches, storyboards and prop lists. These are used to explore Herbert’s sources of inspiration, her decision making process, how she approached her visualisations of space and the relationships between character and designed setting. They allow for a greater understanding of her craftsmanship and skill as a set designer, not only exhibition her meticulous technical skill but also her nuanced understanding of space, atmosphere and character. Each item is representative of the unique and fluid working process that Herbert adopted for her work in film and, in places, highlights the differences between her working processes for film and theatre.


ISADORA (1968) Maria Kobzareva This set of items pertains to the production process of Isadora (1968). It tells the story of Isadora Duncan, a famous dancer with a unique and innovative style who was also famous for her romances and her support for the concept of free love. As a member of this curatorial group, my task was to look at locations in addition to interior and colour solutions. However, instead of displaying something that anyone could see in the movies, I thought it would be more interesting to present Herbert’s sources of inspiration for this particular film. Thus, I decided to concentrate on Herbert’s decision making process: the notations on the reverse of her photos, her passion to list things down, etc. In other words, I wanted to avoid any material from the post-production stage or on-set photos and instead attempt to get into Herbert’s head. My selection of varying materials demonstrates her personal approach to developing the design of the film. The way these items merge together and create a vivid, highly atmospheric picture of the movie was something I found incredibly inspiring. To highlight the way in which these completely different techniques (photo negatives, text pieces, etc.) can work together, I have decided to put them all in one frame. In my mind, a pure and visual approach such as this seems like the most sympathetic method of organizing Herbert’s archive.

JH/2/51/2 Research for ‘Isadora’. Directed by Karel Reisz (c. 1968). Photographer unknown. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.

JH/2/51/2 Research and production text for ‘Isadora’. Directed by Karel Reisz (c. 1968). Photos and negatives by Jocelyn Herbert. Text author unlnown. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


HAMLET (1969) Malou Siegfried In 1969, Tony Richardson directed both a theatre production and movie based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play was staged at the Lunt Fountain Theatre in New York and at the Roundhouse Theatre in London. The movie adaptation was shot at the same time, including the same cast members and Herbert as the set designer. The set was dark and textured, and the atmospheric light conditions (candle and artificial) and colourful costumes contrasted heavily with the minimalist black background. Herbert used the same set for both adaptations — the play and the movie — but in each case the process of creation was different. For the theatre production, the stage was designed as one concise setting whilst the movie was shot in several locations, relying on multiple set designs and camera angles. To demonstrate the different methods Herbert used to render her set designs for each production, I selected two pictures of models she created in preparation for the Roundhouse Theatre production. For the movie, I selected a portion of the storyboard she made, which highlights the techniques she used to visualise atmosphere, light and colour. These materials demonstrate how Herbert was able to work as an effective set designer in both film and theatre, employing highly divergent approaches in each instance.

JH/9/1/14 (0050 / 0053) Photo of the model set design of “Hamlet” play at the Roundhouse, London (1969). Directed by Tony Richardson. Photographs by Sandra Lousada (Date Unknown). The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.

JH/4/38 Storyboard of “Hamlet� movie adaptation. Directed by Tony Richardson, (1969). The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE (1984) Hao Deng, Yanbin Zhang The Hotel New Hampshire is a 1984 British-Canadian-American comedy-drama film written and directed by Tony Richardson. It is based on John Irving’s 1981 novel of the same name, and the story is centered around the Berrys, a quirky New Hampshire family. Jocelyn Herbert worked as the production designer for this film and created several settings for the family including their first house, The Hotel New Hampshire in New Hampshire and the new one in Vienna. The design for the first house that the Berry family lived in can be seen as a visualisation of Herbert’s thoughts concerning interior space, colour and her consideration of detail in order to emphasize the Berry family members’ characters. This notion is reinforced within her correspondence material: ‘It was the grandparents’ house, ‘I imagined it was all the grandparents’ furniture and pictures, it seems to that Win Berry wasn’t the least bit interested in interior decoration, and his wife wouldn’t be interested in anything he wasn’t interested in, and they hadn’t any money anyhow, so they would just leave everything and it would be nice and friendly and fashioned, so I eliminated all the microwave ovens and fridges and washing machines (belonging to the people from whom the house was rented),and made room for a table where she could be making a tartan the boys doing their homework. In fact, all the furniture in the house was hired from local antiques shop-including the grandfather clock and a marvellous primitive that might be a portrait of the grandparents which the family took with them when they moved to the first hotel’(quote extracted from a text within the Jocelyn Herbert Archive at the National Theatre, JH/1/59). As for the two ’New Hampshire’ hotels located in different countries, beyond adding some ‘local flavours’ to the hotels, what Herbert really wanted to highlight was the character of the people, rather than the hotels themselves. Within these set design drawings, Herbert created scenes that painted an incredibly vivid picture of the characters included, not only the Berry family members standing behind the reception desk or sitting around a table, but also the dark shadow standing in front of basement entrance which belongs to one of the radicals. This commitment to conveying a picture of the characters within The Hotel New Hampshire can also be seen in her correspondence material, ‘Herbert could begin to think about details that would not only add to a sense of geographical place, but also tell an audience about The Hotel New Hampshire’s people and interpret its text.’(ibid) Besides this, Herbert also considered the balance between Richardson’s screenplay and its original source. These materials demonstrate how Herbert was able to work as an effective set designer in both film and theatre, employing highly divergent approaches in each instance.

JH/4/67 JH2912 Hotel New Hampshire (1984), interior design draft for Hotel New Hampshire-House. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.

JH/4/67 JH2925 Hotel New Hampshire (1984), interior design draft for Hotel New Hampshire-Vienna. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.

JH/4/67 JH2926 Hotel New Hampshire (1984), interior design draft for Hotel New Hampshire. JH/2/44. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


THE WHALES OF AUGUST (1987) Ksenia Stepanova The drawing and photographic studies presented were made by Jocelyn Herbert during the stage setting for the film The Whales of August (1987), directed by Lindsay Anderson. They represent the Pitkin House on the south coast of Maine’s Cliff Island. This private house was chosen as the main setting for Lindsay Anderson’s movie. The house plays a crucial role in the film and is always visible in each scene. Herbert felt that the visual elements of this film were of the utmost importance. This is perfectly embodied by the house, which acts as a pictorial device connecting the past and present of the main characters, Sarah (played by Lillian Gish) and Libby (played by Bette Davis). At the beginning of the film we see the two young women running from the house to the ocean to watch the whales arrive. Later, the closing scene shows the same characters, decades later, on the edge of the same cliff. Time has passed and the perspective on the scene has changed, but the house in the background has not and thus serves as a visual and temporal anchor. With her unrivalled experience in theatrical design, Herbert was able to provide a static element in the set of the film. The Whales of August (1987) was shot in only two locations: the inside and outside of the house. These drawings serve to illustrate her detailed vision of the building’s exterior.

JH/2/44. The Pitkin House in the the Maine’s Cliff Island, 1987. Photo by Jocelyn Herbert. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


PROMETHEUS (1998) Chinmayi Swami These items are the pre-production lists for the film Prometheus (1998), a film directed by Tony Harrison. It is loosely based on the play by Aeschylus, and the director draws from this Greek myth and presents the film-poem in a 20th century context. Prometheus was an extremely demanding film to produce in terms of location, sets and props from the immense bronze statue of Prometheus to the ‘no smoking signs’. The production for this film was extensive, it included ambitious locations, costumes, props and cinematography. Several of these props were customized to fit the context of the movie. The process was as, if not more, crucial to the outcome of the film. If one observes carefully, every prop was fundamental to the context of the film. Herbert had an extremely methodical process in which she would list every detail of what was required for the production and she made similar lists at every stage during the production. It is interesting to look at these items within the context of the film as one can clearly see what was conceptualised before and during the process of making the sets and props in comparison to the film’s final outcome.

JH/1/81/11, Initial Schedule and lists for props and sets, Prometheus (1998), The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, The National Theatre, London.


PROCESS Nadine Cordial Debora Lim Flavia Prestininzi Zhao Liu Wenjing Zhu Yuran Lin Feini Chen Li Yue Zhou Xiaodeng Ryan Blakeley Shuchang Liu Xinliang Zhuang Chen Cui

This section focuses on how the process used by Jocelyn Herbert for her designs translated into the final production of some of the films she was involved with. Four films have been explored within this section - The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), Ned Kelly (1970), Prometheus (1998) and The Whales of August (1987). Within these films, both pre-production and post-production stage designs can be compared. We examined elements of Herbert’s design through sketches, photographs, newspaper reviews and excerpts from film scripts found within the National Theatre archive. She used innovative methods, such as drawing objects and figures directly onto location photographs in order to convey how the scene in the film would appear. She also cut up various photographs and pasted them together in order to form a wide-angle panorama of certain scenes. These different mediums are used to illustrate pertinent themes, the composition of scenes, visualisations of figures in space and story arcs within the film. The attention to detail and the film design process illustrates the close relationship that Herbert had with the directors she collaborated with. She re-defined the role that designers shared with directors, presenting an overall impression of individual scenes and characters; while closely respecting the nature of the script.


PROMETHEUS (1998) Nadine Cordial Settele The opening scene of the film Prometheus (1998), is centered around the cooling towers of the Ferrybridge power station and the mining community of Kirkby. This area, close to where Tony Harrison grew up, was hit particularly hard by the political unrest of the 1970s and 1980s, when successive Conservative governments under Heath and Thatcher were engaged in a series of political struggles with the National Union of Miners. These disputes resulted in some of the most violent and destructive strikes in modern British history. This use of setting continues as the film follows the journey of the golden Prometheus statue across Europe (Simpsons, n.d.). As part of her research for this film, Jocelyn Herbert visited several nuclear power stations. She photographed their cooling towers, reassembling the images to visualize her ideas for the set, and then drew them into storyboards in order to contextualise them within the film’s narrative. Furthermore, she collected newspaper articles concerning the negative impact nuclear power stations had on the environment and people’s health. By locating the opening scene against such a symbolic backdrop, the film brings the themes of technological progress and its potential consequences to the forefront of the audience’s mind. Herbert’s own political views become most visible in the draft letter she wrote to Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister during the time Prometheus (1998) was filmed.

JH/9/1/1/1, Photograph taken by Jocelyn Herbert on set of Prometheus 1998, Showing a cooling tower of a nuclear power plant in the background and the Prometheus statue in the foreground, The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


PROMETHEUS (1998) Deborah Lim Drawing from the tragedy written by Aeschylus and titled Prometheus Bound, Prometheus (1998) references the tale of the Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. Fire lies at the heart of the narrative, and Prometheus is chained to a rock in the Caucasus for his defiance - receiving the eternal punishment of having his liver eaten by an eagle (the liver re-grows and the cycle repeats). Greek mythology aside, director Tony Harrison associated fire with his own life experiences, both personal and public - the cremation ashes of his mother, bonfires lit to mark the victory of the Allies in World War II, the atomic bomb (Kustow, 1999). Motifs of fire recur throughout the film - cooling towers spewing smoke, the lighting of memorial candles in a church, the act of smoking, and the final scene of the golden statue burning in a quarry in Eleusis.

JH/1/79, Photograph of golden Promethean statue next to molten pit. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London

Right: JH/1/79a, Excerpt of Prometheus script (1998) The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


PROMETHEUS (1998) Flavia Prestininzi In the 1998 poem-movie Prometheus directed by Tony Harrison, the daughters of Ocean cross the River Humber floating on a raft. These figures represent the modern interpretation of the chorus of the Oceanids that, in the Greek poem, had the function of advising Prometheus, the titan bound by Zeus for giving fire to the humans. In this section, which is part of the more extended research about the “process” of Herbert’s preproduction, I present a selection of pictures that specifically illustrate how she gained inspiration for the statues of the daughters of Ocean. The movie, which has been defined as «an artistic reaction to the fall of the British working class»1 provides a re-adaptation of the Greek poem within a post-industrial scenario. This connotation is strongly evident through the statues of the chorus, for which she took inspiration from a fish market. Half of the pictures in the album, in fact, relate to research carried out at a fish market - looking at materials such as heavy and light plastics, nylon nets, rubber gloves and even the expressions of the fishes themselves (shocked and astonished). These served as mood-boards and inspirations for the construction of the Oceanids statues. The colours used for the statues reflect that of the ocean, as well as tones taken from the fish industries, such as the sickly yellow colour. The remaining pictures depict the final designs of the chorus, shot from different perspectives in incredible detail. While highlighting the use of industrial materials, this exhibition also provides a collection of non-original supplies with the aim of retracing her research into the making of costumes. These materials are presented in a book and accessible to the public, in order to create an idealistic but tangible connection with her works.

JH/9/2/1, Photo of the «Daughters of the ocean», the statues for Prometheus. 1998. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London

JH/9/1/1, Photo related to reserch for the production of Prometheus (1998) The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London 40

PROMETHEUS (1998) Zhao Liu Prometheus was a film-poem directed by British poet and playwright Tony Harrison in 1998. This film was based on the British miners’ strike and addressed the fall of working class in the United Kingdom - especially in Northern England and South Wales. (Hall, n.d.) The golden statue was the figure of Prometheus, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humans. Prometheus represented a kind of hero to the miners, leading them towards the future. (Dougherty, 2006) In the blue photo albums there are more than 100 photographs showing Jocelyn Herbert’s working process and how she selected a final frame for the film - she used a yellow sticker as a sign of confirmation of the images. The newspaper article is a review which discusses the mythology in this film. It was insightful to use the archive in order to research this avant-garde film, as it is not something that can be easily understood drawing on common knowledge alone.

JH/9/1/1/1. Goldenballs goes walkabout. Blue photo album for film Prometheus. artificial leather & film photos 1997. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE (1984) Wenjing Zhu The Hotel New Hampshire is a 1984 comedy-drama film directed by Tony Harrison based on John Irving’s 1981 novel of the same name. The film concerns a family that weathers all sorts of disasters and keeps going in spite of it all. It is noted for its wonderful assortment of oddball characters. A review titled Film: Checking into The Hotel New Hampshire, discusses how Tony Richardson fell in love with the wild contradictions in Irving’s story, the fairy-tale flavor of a darkly comic approach to serious issues. The article explains why this film was so attractive to the audience. Similarly, I wanted to find some evidence that pointed to the process of change. For this exhibition, my intention was to identify the connections between Jocelyn Herbert and the film sets she created and also how she identified with the character’s for whom the costumes were designed and it is my belief that these photos are able to demonstrate the creative process behind The Hotel New Hampshire. To conclude, I want to borrow a quote from Tony Richardson which refers to this film, “No matter how much applause we muster for its high points, we can’t overlook the times when things just plain go phlooey.”(Lyman, 1981) I believe that is the main purpose of the film.

JH/2/35/26 Jocelyn Herbert on the set of The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), National Theatre, London. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London. Photographer unknown.


THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE (1984) Yuran Lin The Hotel New Hampshire (1984) is one of Herbert’s film collaborations with director Tony Richardson. The film is based on Win Berry, his wife and their five children - John, Franny, Frank, Lilly, and Egg. The Berrys opened a hotel called the Hotel New Hampshire and throughout the film the family has to deal with may difficult issues: John losing his virginity to the hotel waitress; Frank coming out to Franny and John; Franny being raped by a big man on campus Chip Dove and his buddies before being rescued by Junior Jones and other black members of the school football team; John confessing that he was in love with Franny and the death of the family dog, Sorrow. Sorrow’s reappearance at Christmas, after Frank had him stuffed, caused the Berry’s grandfather Iowa Bob to suffer a fatal heart attack. I chose to exhibit Polaroid photographs that showcase the scene design, interior design and casting. These photographs reveal Herbert’s research and process methods, and they were all taken using a Polaroid camera, which was a highly popular method of documentation at the time. These objects are exhibited in two ways, one is framed and hung upon the wall, the other is a digital scan and presented on the table. I wanted to display the original Polaroid photographs due to their unique characteristic as something that cannot be replicated and their status as recordings of a particular place and time.

JH/2/35/38. BERRY House and outside scene design. (Two pages of the file are outdoor scene shooting location) Hotel New Hampshire. Polaroid photography, 1984. Photo by Jocelyn Herbert The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London

THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE (1984) Feini Chen Franny Berry is one of the main characters in Hotel New Hampshire (1984), she is the second oldest child of the Berry family, who experienced being raped when she was a teenager. This horrible experience subsequently influenced her whole life, and her closest sibling John tried to become her protector thereafter. John himself was the narrator of the film. The photo of Franny not only shows her beauty and strong personality, but also tells her story, which is a key story arc within the film.

JH/9/1/29, Costume of Franny of film The Hotel New Hampshire (1984) The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London 46

THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE (1984) Li Yue, Zhou Xiaodeng We both selected materials from the archive concerning The Hotel New Hampshire (1984). It is a comedy film directed by Tony Richardson, based on the fictional book of the same title written by John Irving (1981). Working as part of the process group, we elected to present the ephemerality of Herbert’s working process through our item selection. There is a subtle atmosphere of the “unfinished” or “instantaneous” contained within these photographs and it was these evanescent characteristics that led to us selecting them for display as we wanted to show a portion of Herbert’s process and preparation that never factored into the final cut of the film.

JH/9/1/29 -2 Volumes, 2 photos of interior scenes from Album of The Hotel New Hampshire (1984) The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London


THE WHALES OF AUGUST (1987) Ryan Blakeley The Whales of August (1987) is a film adaptation directed by Lindsey Anderson of the play by Dave Barry. It talks about two elderly sisters from Philadelphia who have been returning to the same Maine summer house each August to holiday and watch the whales migrate past their piece of shoreline. The sisters are in their twilight years and there is a sense that this visit to Maine (of which the audience only sees one day) is filled with reflection on their past together, and may be the sisters’ last. The film is about the passing of time and our connections to place and each other. I have selected photographs that have been altered with hand drawings, expressive sketches, technical drawings and sections of the script to show the nuanced skill of Herbert’s craftsmanship by focusing on how she visualised figures within the setting of each scene. These items exhibit her rich emotional and psychological understanding of character and scene, as well as her detailed technical ability; and how she balanced these two elements to develop a true sense of the film space as described in Dave Barry’s script. By doing this, I hope to show the masterful balancing act between expression and technical thoroughness that a designer for film must undertake.

(Left) JH/6/1/26, Photograph Of Landscape With Hand Drawn Figures Added For The Film The Whales Of August, Photographer unknown, possibly taken by Jocelyn Herbet, and hand drawn additions by Jocelyn Herbert. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London. (Right) JH/6/1/26, Pencil Sketch Of Characters Sarah And Libby Looking Out To Sea For The Film The Whales Of August, Jocelyn Herbert, The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.

(Left) JH/6/1/26, Page Of Script From The Whale Of August Written By Dave Barry Edited In Pencil. Seen With Photograph Of Red buoy On The Ocean. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London. Photographer unknown. (Right) JH/6/1/26, Technical Drawing Of A Bouy Annotated In Red Pen, The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


THE WHALES OF AUGUST (1987) Shuchang Liu The works I chose are comprised of two parts: Photo-sketches that Jocelyn Herbert created for The Whales of August (1987) and corresponding sections of the scripts. The seven sketches were originally photographs shot by Herbert for The Whales of August (1987), which Herbert altered by drawng simple figures directly onto their surface using crayons and pens. This approach can be seen as an unconventional one when compared with sketches she created for other films. After examining sketches that she created for other films, I decided to narrow the scope of my research to The Whales of August. As I browsed the sketches Herbert drew for her films, I felt that the sketches for The Whales of August touched me most, and they also exemplify her control over images. Since The Whales of August is about a very ordinary story: the daily lives of two sisters in their old age, many of the scenes in the film represent rather trivial affairs, such as the two sisters squabbling over trifles or reminiscing about their past and their friends. There are very few settings within this film, all the scenes were shot in and around the house that the sisters share together, and there are only five main characters. The plot is based around extensive dialogue and subtle movements. I think it must have been difficult to draw sketches for such a film on this basis, as it would have required the designer to achieve an immersive experience in order to create any form of visual plan for filming. Herbert’s sketches for The Whales of August reflect her ability to balance the relationship between her sketches and film’s plot. My research was centered around finding the evidence of Herbert’s process of design and how this translates into actual filming of the productions that Herbert had a part in. Using Herbert’s sketches from this particular film I tried to replicate the film’s final scene with the help of corresponding scripts, so as to demonstrate the development from the pre-production process to the final cut.

JH/6/1/26. The Whales of August. Script by David Berry, based on his play of the same title. Location photographs on which she has drawn characters.1986. Photographer unknown, possibly taken by Jocelyn Herbet. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theater, London.


THE WHALES OF AUGUST (1987) Xinliang Zhuang As a set designer for the film The Whales of August (1987), Jocelyn Herbert created sketches to reflect her ideas concerning the scene’s picture composition and environment. Her approach altered the way in which directors and audiences came to view design, and contributed to a fundamental shift in the relationship between writer, director, and designer. I selected two sketches, one photo and a page of the script to reflect one scene from the film The Whales of August (1987). These sketches were produced as preparation for the film, making them part of the process of film design which was the focus of our group. This sketch shows Sarah combing Libby’s hair while chatting with her in a corridor. The other sketch shows a scene in which the two old ladies are standing on the stairs of their house. The wide shot shows the whole house, the sea and the two main characters. Herbert’s sketch not only highlights her ideas about picture composition, scene construction and the image of the characters, but also reflects her skillful drawing ability, evident in her use of shading. The script is an important element of this film, using text to express the movie’s narrative. In order to replicate the essence of Herbert’s process, I selected multiple types of media such as scripts and sketches to highlight her ideas as much as possible. Therefore, I chose one page of the script of the film The Whales of August (1987) which illustrates the same scene as Item 1- Sarah chatting with Libby along the corridors by the sea. The photograph was taken by Herbert before the scene was filmed, providing us with her own vision of the how the scene was meant to look.

JH/6/1/26. The Whales of August, sketches by Jocelyn Herbert for the set of The Whales of August.1986. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.

JH/6/1/26. The Whales of August, The script is by David Berry, based on his play of the same title, 25 Sep 1986.Jocelyn Herbert.1986. The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London.


NED KELLY (1970) Chen Cui Ned Kelly (1970) is a film about the infamous 19th century Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. It is notable for being the first film concerning Kelly to be shot in colour. The film was directed by Tony Richardson, and starred Mick Jagger as the lead role. Jocelyn Herbert was the production designer and costume designer (uncredited) for this film. The items I selected include a sketch of Ned Kelly’s costume, three other sketches of the interior set design for the bar and bank featured in the film, and a photograph file that contains reproductive photographs filed by subject. These sketches reflect Herbert’s extensive stage design experience and the photograph file acts as a dossier of the research that Herbert undertook while working on her designs. For Ned Kelly, Herbert created costumes for each character and created the design for each scene as well. Her sketches of Kelly reveal Herbert’s acute ability to create a visual representation that lives up to the outlaw’s legendary historic status.

JH/4/39-2073, Set Design of Ned Kelly (1970),The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London

JH/4/39-2068 Set Design of Ned Kelly (1970), The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, at the National Theatre, London


LIST OF REFERENCES ADG Art Direction. (2017) Costume Designer. Available at: http://www.gestaltung.hs-mannheim. de/designwiki/files/2523/costume%20designer.pdf (Accessed 27 February 2017). Adler, T. (2012), ‘The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty’, Aurum Press, London. Canby, V. (1969) ‘Vanessa Redgrave Sparks ‘The Loves of Isadora’: Karel Reisz’s Picture on 2 Screens Here’, The New York Times, 28 April. Available at: ?res=9A01E0D61F39E63ABC4051DFB2668382679EDE (Accessed 27 February 2017). Carter, A. and Fensham, R. (2011) Dancing Naturally. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Dougherty, C. (2006) Prometheus (Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World). Routledge. Duncan, I. (1970) The Art of the Dance. Theatre Arts Books. Hall, E. (n.d.) Tony Harrison’s Prometheus: A View from the Left. Available at: arion/files/2010/03/Hall-Harrison-Prometheus.pdf (Accessed 3 March 2017). IMDb. (1984) The Hotel New Hampshire. Available at: (Accessed 7 March 2017). LaMothe, K. (2006) Nietzsche’s Dancers: Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and the Revaluation of Christian Values. USA: Palgrave Macmillan. Lyman, R. (1981) ‘Film: Checking into ‘The Hotel New Hampshire’, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9 March. (JH/1/59), Accessed 27 February 2017). Kustow, M. (1999) Burning Ambition. Available at: theobserver/1999/apr/11/featuresreview.review3 (Accessed 3 March 2017). Mullin, M. (n.d.) Tony Richardson’s Hamlet: Script and Screen. Available at: https://www.questia. com/library/journal/1P3-1595656481/tony-richardson-s-hamlet-script-and-screen (Accessed 4 March 2017). O’Brien, T. (2003) ‘Jocelyn Herbert’, The Guardian, 8 May. Available at: https://www.theguardian. com/news/2003/may/08/guardianobituaries.artsobituaries1 (Accessed 3 March 2017). Simpson, C. (n.d.) How do Aeschylus and Tony Harrison adapt the myth of Prometheus in order to appeal to their contemporary audiences? Available at: charlotte-simpson-adaptation-of-the-myth-of-prometheus-by-aeschylus-and-tony-harrison-lsrunner-up-2011/ (Accessed 4 March 2017). The Telegraph. (2003) Jocelyn Herbert. Available at: obituaries/1429506/Jocelyn-Herbert.html (Accessed 27 February 2017). Tortora, P. G. and Eubank, K. (2005) Survey of Historic Costume. New York: Fairchild Publications. Welsh, J.M. and Tibbetts, J.C. (eds.) (1999) The Cinema of Tony Richardson: Essays and Interviews (SUNY Series, Cultural Studies in Cinema/Video). Albany: State University of New York Press.


Isadora (1968) Director Karel Reisz Included in archive selection by Paul Davey, Costume Design Group, Maria, Kobzareva

Hamlet (1969) Director Tony Richardson Included in archive selection by Malou Siefried, Paul Davey

The Whales of August (1987) Director Lindsay Anderson Included in archive selection by Gaia Giacomelli/ Georgia Keeling, Ksenia Stepanova, Ryan Blakeley, Shuchang Liu, Xinliang Zhuang

Ned Kelly (1970) Director Tony Richardson Included in archive selection by Chen Cui

The Hotel New Hampshire (1984) Director Tony Richardson Included in archive selection by Hao Deng/ Yanbin Zhang, Yuran Lin, Feini Chen, Zhou Xiaodeng/ Li Yue, Wenjing Zhu

Prometheus (1998) Director Tony Harrison Included in archive selection by Chinmayi Swami, Nadine Cordial Settele, Deborah Lim, Flavia Prestininzi, Zhao Li


Disclaimer: Where possible every effort has been made to contact parties for permission to use their images or words in this publication. Workbook #3 is published to coincide with exhibition Jocelyn Herbert: Design for Film in collaboration with the Jocelyn Herbert Archive at the National Theatre. This exhibition was held at Chelsea Cookhouse, Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip St, London, SW1P4JU from 13.03.2017 to 17.03.2017.