The Jocelyn Herbert Archive

Jocelyn Herbert (1917-2003) was one of Britain’s leading theatre designers. She transformed earlier assumptions about the relationships between designers, directors and writers, and had a huge influence on younger designers. Her career began with the English Stage Company at the Royal Court, where she designed the first British production of Ionesco’s The Chairs (1958). She collaborated closely over many years with playwrights Samuel Beckett, Arnold Wesker, David Storey and Tony Harrison. She was a member of the Building Committee for the National Theatre, and designed for all three of the National’s spaces, as well as working internationally in theatre, opera and film.

The Jocelyn Herbert Archive includes over 6,000 set and costume drawings, letters, notebooks and sketchbooks, as well as masks, photographs and models. It is unique in the range and depth in which it documents a theatre designer’s career. It is housed at the National Theatre Archive and is open to all by appointment.

Between 2008 and 2014, the archive was housed at Wimbledon College of Arts, and more information about this period can be found here, along with details of publications about Jocelyn Herbert’s work.

This site – working from the archive – explores Jocelyn Herbert’s work in relation to contemporary practice.


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