Edinburgh College of Art’s historic fancy dress party revealed

Revel party scene from 1934

Revel party scene from 1934

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AN annual fancy-dress extravaganza that has been running for more than 100 years is to be showcased in a new exhibition.

Edinburgh College of Art’s yearly Revel, which dates back to 1909, brings together staff and students for a themed party with costumes, scenery, performances and dancing.

Revel design from 1945

Revel design from 1945

The exhibition, being hosted in the University of Edinburgh’s main library, includes a number of unique photographs of students at the Revel from the 1910s to the 1970s.

A range of colourful ticket and programme designs also demonstrate the effort, imagination and skill that has gone into the event.

Former student and celebrated artist John Bellany is known to have designed the set for the 1963 Revel.

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Designer getting prepared for 1950 Revel

Designer getting prepared for 1950 Revel

Former College Principal and painter William Gillies also features in a silent film showing students creating props and enjoying the event.

A costume thought to have been part of the 1951 Revel – which has a Knights of the Round Table theme - will also be on display.

University experts researched student handbooks and old newspaper reports that chart the coverage of the event and found reports describing the Revel as “the most important event of the College year”.

Rachel Hosker, Archives Manager at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The Revel has always been a showcase for the skill and craft of students and staff at the College, giving them the freedom to express themselves with a sense of fun.

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“The Revel is a unique event – organised without a huge budget – that is initiated and developed by students using the principle of ‘brown paper and imagination’.”

‘Brown Paper and Imagination: Revealing the Edinburgh College of Art Revel’ runs from 1 April – 2 July 2016 at the University’s Main Library Exhibition Gallery.

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