Theatrical and film designer and decorator and painter, born in London, his father Lieutenant-Colonel Leonard Messel, his mother Maud the daughter of the black-and-white artist Linley Sambourne. Attended Eton College, 1917–21, leaving early for the Slade School of Fine Art. By the early 1930s he was one of Britain’s principal stage designers, having had great success with productions such as the Cochran Revues; his baroque style raised standards and attracted its own public. Operatic, ballet and film productions and royal command performances followed. In World War II Messel served as a captain in the Army. His books included Stage Designs and Costumes, 1933; Designs for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, issued by The Folio Society, 1957; and designs for Adrianne Allen and Marjorie Salter’s Delightful Food, 1958.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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