Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

email signup Blog Video Facebook Twitter Instagram
A Tonic to the Imagination: Costume Designs for Stage and Screen by B. J. Simmons & Co., 1889-1959
Home Costume Designs Introduction Index of Designers
Early Shakespeare
For decades, costuming Shakespeare's plays was a mainstay of Simmons' trade. The firm's designs for Shakespeare offer an insightful look into how the approach to period costume design changed over a span of eighty years, not only for Simmons but for period design in England. In the early productions, the actors' costumes were romanticized within the historical context of the play. Later, in the years following World War I, the costumes became more abstract as some directors abandoned the concept of correctness of period and transferred the plays from Shakespeare's time to other settings.

Julius Caesar

Lyric Theatre, 1912

Costume design for Julius Caesar Costume design for Julius Caesar

The Merchant of Venice

His Majesty's Theatre, 1908
Costumes designed by Percy Macquoid

Costume design for The Merchant of Venice Costume design for The Merchant of Venice Costume design for The Merchant of Venice Costume design for The Merchant of Venice

A Midsummer Night's Dream

His Majesty's Theatre, 1911
Costumes designed by Percy Anderson

Costume design for A Midsummer Night's Dream Costume design for A Midsummer Night's Dream Costume design for A Midsummer Night's Dream Costume design for A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Drury Lane, 1924
Costumes designed by George W. Harris

Costume design for A Midsummer Night's Dream Costume design for A Midsummer Night's Dream

Much Ado about Nothing

His Majesty's Theatre, 1905
Costumes designed by Byam Shaw

Costume design forMuch Ado about Nothing Costume design forMuch Ado about Nothing Costume design forMuch Ado about Nothing Costume design forMuch Ado about Nothing Costume design forMuch Ado about Nothing

Richard II

His Majesty's Theatre, 1902
Costumes designed by Percy Anderson

Costume design for Richard II Costume design for Richard II Costume design for Richard II

Romeo and Juliet

New Theatre, 1911
Costumes designed by Percy Macquoid

Costume design for Romeo and Juliet Costume design for Romeo and Juliet