Olga Lehmann (1912-2001)

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image - Olga Lehmann

After being awarded a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art in 1929, Olga Lehmann excelled as an artist winning several prizes before graduating in 1934. She went on to pursue a career of extraordinary versatility, encompassing the worlds of mural painting, portraiture, work as a war artist, graphic design, film and television.

Film drew on the full spectrum of her remarkable talent both in the Art Department and as a freelance costume designer or art director. Her cinema career started in 1941 when she joined ACT (Association of Cine Technicians) and painted murals on the set of Hi Gang at Gainsborough Studios. Gaumont British, Riverside and MGM all used her talents in the early Forties.

image - The Man in the Iron Mask

She joined the staff of British National Studios as a scenic artist in 1944, before moving on to Associated British Picture Corporation where she worked for six years in the Art department. In the early Fifties, tired of art directors taking credit for her work, Olga went freelance, designing sets and costumes at Pinewood Studios, MGM and ABPC.

Her work included designs for the Playing Card ballet sequence she devised for Vera-Ellen in Lets be Happy (1956), costumes for Robbery Under Arms (1957), The Scapegoat (1958), The Guns of Navarone (1961), The Victors (1963), and Kidnapped (1971) among many other films. She designed the entire production, from credit titles to sets and costumes for George Pal's Tom Thumb (1958), which received an Academy Award for its Special Effects.

image - The Scapegoat

It was her extensive work in television that earned her the recognition she deserved, in the form of Emmy nominations for her costume designs in The Man in the Iron Mask (1977), The Four Feathers (1978), A Tale of Two Cities (1980), and The Master of Ballantrae (1984).

Paul Huson Screenwriter, son of Olga Lehmann

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Last Updated: Friday, 23-Feb-2007 11:20:40 GMT