Photograph of Jocelyn Herbert by
Sandra Lousada © Sandra Lousada
Three-dimensional stage model by Jocelyn Herbert for 'The Changing Room',
© Jocelyn Herbert Archive, University of the Arts, London
Drawing by Jocelyn Herbert, mask for the Daughters of Ocean in Prometheus, © Jocelyn Herbert Archive, University of the Arts, LondonJocelyn Herbert was a stage designer and my interest in her is based on the huge amount of work she did with Lindsay Anderson. She designed the sets for a huge number of Lindsay Anderson's stage productions, including: Sergeant Musgrave's Dance (1959, The Royal Court); Inadmissible Evidence (Nie Do Obrony) (October 1966, at the Contemporary Theatre, Warsaw); Home (1970, The Royal Court); The Changing Room (1971, The Royal Court) and Stages (1992, The Cottesloe Theatre). In addition to this she was also the production designer for If.... (1968); O Lucky Man! (1973); and The Whales of August (1987). They did have their arguments though and he could be quite critical of her in letters to others, but he was critical of everyone and had very high standards which, he was happy to admit, Jocelyn met. For example when he went to Warsaw to direct a production of John Osborne's Inadmissible Evidence he had terrible problems with the stage workers there and Jocelyn Herbert flew over to help him. I found two letters in the Jocelyn Herbert Archive - in the first one he talks at length about the problems he's having with the production, in the second he is thanking her for flying out to help her. After talking to Cathy Courtney about this it has become apparent that this event was key to his admiration for Jocelyn Herbert's talent and professionalism as it was in such contrast to what he was dealing with in the theatre in Warsaw. This contact with Cathy Courtney, who knew both Jocelyn Herbert and Lindsay Anderson, has been invaluable in getting the most out of the Archive and illustrates that Archives are about the people who look after them as well as the people who are in them! It was also very helpful to see some earlier letters that he wrote to Jocelyn Herbert - as it wasn't until the 1970's and the arrival of Kathy Burke as his secretary, that carbon copies were kept of all outgoing letters (thanks Kathy!).
So far I've only catalogued a few letters from Jocelyn Herbert to Lindsay Anderson and vice versa as I have still to get to a whole section of files which were organised by name. This section of named files includes: Jocelyn Herbert; John Ford, Milos Forman; Bill Douglas, Richard Harris; Rachel Roberts; and David Storey, to name but a few! The image I've included below is a drawing, by Jocelyn Herbert, from the Lindsay Anderson Collection, sent to him after they had made The Whales of August. I'm hoping there might be more drawings in the file I've still to catalogue!
Drawing of Lillian Gish and Bette Davis on set of The Whales of August
by Jocelyn Herbert © Lindsay Anderson Archive, University of Stirling