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Gladys Calthrop
(1894 - 1980) U.K.

Gladys Calthrop

Stage and costume designer


Gladys was a close friend of Noel Coward and they had a long working association too - she provided set and/or costume designs for most of his plays and films.

Gladys CalthropIn 1923 they were on holiday together in Cap Ferrat and were guests at a villa there. One of the other guests was a Dominican Prior. They returned from a walk one day to find the Prior in Gladys' room wearing only her underwear...

In 1924 she painted murals for Noel at his house in Ebury Street, London.

When the play "The Vortex" transferred from London to Broadway she went too but remained in New York to become Artistic Director for Eva la Galliene's Civic Reparatory Theatre.

In 1945 David Lean was making a film version of Noel Coward's play "Still Life". It had been decided that a better title should be sought for the film and it was Gladys who came up with: "Brief Encounter".

Calthrop - Coward - Lean
Gladys Calthrop - Noel Coward - David Lean

She was the one time lover of Mercedes de Acosta; who described her as "That enchanting and beautiful person". They went to Berlin together in 1929. Mercedes wrote in her diary that they had seen female prostitutes "on the streets who were actually men" and "women who dressed and looked exactly like men".

She was considered for costume designer for the film "Gone With The Wind". In film credits she is sometimes listed as G E Caltrop.


Films as Artistic Director:

  • This Happy Breed (1944)
  • Brief Encounter (1945)
  • Blythe Spirit (1945)
  • Astonished Heart (1949)
Films as Costume Designer:
  • The Fighting O'Flynn (1949)
Source: entry kindly sent by Raymond Port

Pictures from: National Portrait Gallery, London - U.K.

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