Item MS-15-14.2020-012, Cabinet 14, Drawer 4 - Portrait of Donald (Don) Higgins

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Portrait of Donald (Don) Higgins

General material designation

  • Graphic material

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Title statements of responsibility

Robert Doyle

Title notes

Level of description

Item

Reference code

MS-15-14.2020-012, Cabinet 14, Drawer 4

Edition area

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Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1989 (Creation)
    Creator
    Doyle, Robert

Physical description area

Physical description

1 painting : 80 x 69 cm

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1938 - 2019)

Biographical history

Robert Doyle was a leading figure in set and costume design in Canada, whose work has been showcased in more than 500 theatre productions. Born in Edinburgh in 1938, but raised in Canada, he began his professional career as a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. After undergoing knee surgery he transitioned into theatrical design, working at regional theatres such as Manitoba Theatre Centre and Halifax's Neptune Theatre, where he was the founding costume designer. He pursued his studies at Wimbledon School of Fine Art's Theatre Division. While in England he researched 18th-century civilian and military clothes, and later trained a staff to invent accurate copies for the character animation planned for the restoration of Fortress Louisburg in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

This ambitious project sparked Doyle's awareness of the need for costume design training in Canada, and he subsequently taught at Regina University and at Dalhousie University, where he founded the Costumes Studies Program. In 1999 he was appointed Art Director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Pan American Games in Winnipeg. He has also designed costumes and sets for The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo and Ballet J├Ârgen, and conducted costume workshops throughout North America. In 2006 Doyle taught the final year at Red Deer College's Costume Program. He subsequently wrote a series of books on costume-making, including Waisted Efforts: An Illustrated Guide to Corset Making, Laundry: The Whys and Hows of Cleaning Clothes, Art of the Tailor, and Costuming the Dance.

In 2007 Robert Doyle received the Order of Canada for his life's work and mentoring of members of the Canadian theatre community. He died 13 November 2019.

Custodial history

Item was donated to the Dalhousie University Archives by Gary Brooks and Angus Campbell through the Nova Scotia LGBT Seniors Archive.

Scope and content

Item is a portrait of Donald (Don) Higgins painted by Robert Doyle. Don Higgins (1943-1989) was an openly gay professor of political science and public administration with a keen interest in municipal government structures, education and city development and planning. Robert Doyle was an openly gay designer, costume design professor and painter. The portrait was painted from a photograph.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Gary Brooks and Angus Campbell

Arrangement

Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access. All materials are open for research.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

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Accruals

No further accruals expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Portrait of Donald Higgins, MS-15-14, Cabinet 15, Drawer 4, Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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Rules for Archival Description

Status

Final

Level of detail

Full

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Record created July 9, 2020.

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

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