The making of the costume for The Lady of Shalott.
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Above: the music video trailer to The Lady of Shalott film.
In May 2008 we had just completed the Luttrell Psalter film and were planning to take some time off to recover from the two year project when someone observed that 2009 would be the bicentenary of Tennyson’s birth here in Lincolnshire and shouldn’t we do something to celebrate it. It took us about two minutes to decide to make a filmed dramatisation of his poem The Lady of Shalott – though I have to admit that I had not at that stage read it, I was much more familiar with the works it inspired, most particularly the paintings of John William Waterhouse.
We also knew that one of Waterhouse’s versions of the Lady of Shalott was going to be part of The Collection’s ‘Tennyson Transformed’ exhibition, and that confirmed our choice. Our film would be made to be shown at The Collection and we had less than a year in which to make it. We also planned two versions; one where Tennyson would read the entire poem to a contemporary audience and the other a full dramatisation of the words of the poem. Each of the two filmed versions would require its own set of costumes and each was to require a very different approach…