GISSEY, Henri
(1621-1673)

Biography

French draughtsman and costume designer who held the post of "dessinateur de la Chambre et du cabinet de Roi in the Menus Plaisirs du Roi" in the early years of Louis XIV of France. Gissey's appointment made him responsible for the expressions of court style, above all in the elaborately costumed and produced ballets de cour, in which the young king danced among his courtiers. He produced the sumptuous engraved festival books that often followed such events and are sometimes the only surviving record of them.

His court position demanded in addition to designs for costumes, designs for other kinds of court ceremonial festivities, carried out under the general direction of Louis Trelons-Cochon Hesselin, "Overseer of the King's pleasures." He collaborated in many official spectacles, like the ballets of court, the carrousel of 1662 and the productions at the court of George Dandin and the Bourgeois gentilhomme by Molière, for which he created remarkable costumes. Several designs exist by Gissey for costumes for Louis XIV as Apollo, a role he repeated in numerous court ballets.

Jean Berain (1640-1711) was his successor.