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Lot 1AR
Ronald Cobb (British, 1907-1977): An original hand-painted design for a menu at Murray's Cabaret Club,
11 – 25 June 2020, 12:00 BST
London, Knightsbridge

Sold for £956.25 inc. premium

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Ronald Cobb (British, 1907-1977): An original hand-painted design for a menu at Murray's Cabaret Club,

the pencil, watercolour and gouache design featuring a showgirl from Murray's Cabaret Club in a red and black costume with an ostrich feather headpiece, signed and dated by the artist, mounted, framed, and glazed, sight 14in x 11in (35.5cm x 28cm)


Ronald Cobb (British, 1907-1977) started off life as an actor, before becoming a theatrical costume and set designer. Cobb then worked for Murray's Cabaret Club designing some of London's most luxurious costumes from 1946 to the early 60's.

Murray's Cabaret Club was founded in the early 1930's by Percival Murray on Beak Street in Soho, London. It was a decadent basement venue that housed both a luxurious restaurant, and a glamorous stage with sensual showgirls. Through meticulous planning and choreography, the carefully selected dancers put on extravagant floorshows, set to original music composed and orchestrated by the current bandleader. These shows were centred around original costumes created by imaginative designers such as Ronald Cobb. Once designed, Cobb would collaborate with the wardrobe mistress, who then instructed a team of fully employed seamstresses to create the ensembles. The average time spent on each costume was 300 hours, because of the extremely elaborate jeweling and ornamentation, with every single component intricately stitched by hand. Every floorshow comprised of three numbers, each requiring approximately forty costumes and an estimated £10,000 in material and labour - making Murray's showgirls the most expensively clothed girls in London! No expense was spared, and as such Murray's became the place to be. In its heyday in the 1950's Murray's saw a membership of approx 60,000, with many characters from the city's elite and celebrity world in attendance. Due to competition, the club closed its doors in 1975.

The Museum of Soho, London, 22nd March - 7th April 2018.
Green & Stone of Chelsea, London, 4th-16th July 2019.

Levy, Benjamin, 'Murray's Cabaret Club: Discovering Soho's Secret', (The History Press), 2019.

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