There's No Business Like Show Business!

Theatrical costume and fashion designs by Cecil Beaton & Yves Saint Laurent to be sold at auction


Dawsons are delighted to present selected contents from the estate of the late Mr. Patrick Wheatley (1930-2020) in their upcoming Fine Art, Jewellery & Antiques auction on January 28th 2021.

Born in Edinburgh 1930, Patrick Wheatley studied at the Edinburgh Academy which harnessed an early interest in show business. In his first job at the Lyceum Theatre, he would assist with various jobs from making and painting scenery to sweeping up after performances. Attracted by the bright lights of London, he went on to work for the Wilson and Barrett Theatre Company, The Globe on Shaftesbury Avenue as well as the notable producer, impresario, songwriter and fellow Scotsman, Henry Moncrieff Tennent. Living the rest of his life in London, not too far from the Dawsons Hampstead office, he furnished his homes with stage costume and fashion designs by the likes of Cecil Beaton, Yves Saint Lauren, Julie Harris, Desmond Heeley and Georges Wakhévitch.

Lot 91: A theatrical costume design by Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Estimate: £200 - £300

Overseeing the sale, Auctioneer & Valuer Harrison Goldman said, ‘Whilst theatrical costume designs rarely receive the appreciation they truly deserve, to collect works by Cecil Beaton and Yves Saint Laurent was particularly forward thinking of Mr. Wheatley, as at the time he was working, many designs were destined for the theatre waste-paper bin post production’.

The costume design (below) is most likely the original drawing by Yves Saint-Laurent (whilst working under Christian Dior) designed in the 1950s, for the production of Jean Giraudoux's 'Duel of Angels'. This drawing closely relates to [and is possibly the original design for] a finished dress now on permanent display at the Victorian and Albert Museum, London (V&A Museum No. S.1443&A to B-1984) which was recreated by the costumiers M. Berman Ltd in 1958 after Dior's death. In Christopher Fry's English-speaking rendition (Apollo Theatre, London) Paola was played by none other than Vivien Leigh, one of the most celebrated actresses of the mid-20th century.

Lot 89: A rare fashion/costume design sketch by Yves Saint Laurent whilst working for Christian Dior, Estimate: £600 - £1,000

With natural talent Patrick was soon approached to work for television and films and never afraid to hold back from sharing memories of his globe-trotting adventures. As well as being nominated for a BAFTA in costume design for the film ‘Joseph Andrews’ (1977), he would work on wardrobes for the world famous ‘Star Wars : Episode VI – Return of the Jedi’ (1983) and ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ (1984). Particularly proud of working with legendary film stars, he treasured signed photographs and letters from Marlene Dietrich, Lauren Bacall, Robbie Coltrane, Gregory Peck, Shirley MacLaine and many others which will also be sold at Dawsons.

Lot 522: Includes an original script for Indiana Jones and The Temple of Death (Doom), Estimate: £300 - £500

One of Patrick’s final jobs was to work with possibly the most famous film director of all time, Steven Spielberg on ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998) and was presented with a silver dog tag on chain by the director also up for auction. Presented in the same lot, are his collection of film scripts and photographs albums documenting his busy career. These texts include many household names such as Alec Guinness, John Williams, Stephen Sondheim, Noel Coward, Alan Ayckbourn, Terrence Rattigan, Alan Bennett, Ruth Rendell, Terry Jones, David Hare, George Lucas and many others.

Lot 522: Includes inscribed Dog Tags presented to Patrick by Steven Spielberg on the set of Saving Private Ryan, Estimate: £300 - £500

In retirement Patrick developed a closer relationship with his several nieces and nephews, as well as keeping in touch with his former colleagues from show business. As with many people working in the arts, his career was a passion, forming close friendships with those he shared memorable experiences with. Always openly grateful for a long, healthy, and interesting life, Patrick Wheatley will be dearly missed by friends and family, but comforted to know that his possessions will be enjoyed by future generations to come.

To view the fully illustrated catalogue for the January Fine Art, Antiques & Jewellery sale click here:

Further costume designs, ephemera and photographs from the collection will be in the February Fine Art & Antiques sale at Dawsons Auctions.

For further information about any of the lots, or information on how to bid contact Dawsons at or 02074319445

Peter Mason

Peter Mason

Peter is particularly passionate about items with historical and social value, but he is also a wonderful General Valuer and has an extremely broad spectrum of knowledge gleaned over the years, that will certainly prove invaluable to anyone keen to sell or buy at auction.

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