Whale, James (1889 – 1957)

A superb original costume sketch of a tall, lanky gentleman with checked suit, accomplished in graphite and watercolour on an off-white 7″ x 9″ sheet by James Whale, who signs below, ‘J. Whale—1920’ and adds a character notation to the left side: ‘Dirk Daniell as “Mr. Hawkins”‘. In very fine condition. Autographs of the Frankenstein director are extremely rare in any format.

Before starting his career as a film director, Whale was renowned as a stage and costume designer on the British theatre scene. This early sketch, which features the iconic ‘Frankenstein walk’, suggests it might well have been Whale, rather than make-up man Jack Pierce, who came up with Karloff’s lumbering walk and short jacket.