Act II

Obviously, there is set design and decoration.  Pages of sketches of costumes and stage.

There are also examples of decoration of both rooms and painted walls.

Don't forget tales of British aristocracy and politics and life-long friendships.

But the best parts of Oliver Messel: The Theatre of Design for me are the houses he designed in Barbados and Mustique.  Those chalky walls, bare floors, porcelain and chintz.  My copy's spine is already cracked to Chapter Five.  For the design?  Yes.  But also for the reassurance that one can shift focus, try something new and succeed.

This book truly has it all - great design, a rollicking story, a great romance and best of all a dashing leading man.  And wonderful pictures to boot.  All images courtesy of Rizzoli for Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design edited by Thomas Messel.  Photography for all photos but the third by Derry Moore, the other is by Dale Curtis.  Rizzoli provided the book for review.