Costumes from the film
at the Debbie Reynolds Auction Breaks Up Historic Hollywood Collection (The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA, USA). On the foreground: Costume worn by Ben Hur Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur and costume worn by Stephen Boyd as Messala.
A group of Stephen Boyd costumes from the chariot race in Ben-Hur Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1959. Comprising a black wool tunic with copper-colored braid and button design to shoulders and bottom, with Simmon’s label sewn in; a black tunic, likely lightweight rubber, studio-distressed, with painted copper-colored design; a leather belt with copper-colored eagle and laurel applique; a leather belt with painted copper-colored design; 2 hard rubber helmets with visors; 2 suede-covered laced leather boots with copper-colored appliques in floral design; and a leather armband with copper-colored laurel design. A dramatic costume worn by Stephen Boyd as Messala, the villain in one of the most exciting action scenes in film history. The “distressed” tunic and belt in this lot appear to have been used in the aftermath of Messala’s chariot wreck by a stunt performer or Boyd. Provenance: David Weisz Co., MGM Auction and Tag Sale, 1970. https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/23477/lot/857/?category=list
Stephen Boyd “Messala” elaborate ceremonial metal armor and leather tunic and short sword from Ben-Hur. (MGM, 1959) Elaborate ceremonial metal breastplate made of steel and brass with grey and red suede skirt adorned with metal decorations. No label. Includes ornate metal-handled short sword (27” including sheath) in pewter-colored metal and wrapped brass sheath, bearing a symbol of a wreath surrounding an eagle clutching two snakes. Sword blade bears marking “CC7”. Worn by Stephen Boyd as “Messala” in the scene where Heston is apprehended by Roman soldiers during the procession in Ben-Hur.
Stephen Boyd complete “Messala” charioteer costume from the iconic chariot race sequence in Ben-Hur. (MGM, 1959) This stunning ensemble includes the gold leather helmet with eagle motif, long tunic with gold thread detailing with interior bias label marked “Messala S. Boyd #1”, black suede belt with gold eagle and flourishes, with pair of matching gauntlets and black suede boots with gold trim and lion head medallions attached on front. An incredible and iconic costume perfectly preserved with each fitment bearing the character and actor’s name.
A Stephen Boyd costume design sketch by Elizabeth Haffenden from “Ben Hur” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1959. Rendered in gouache and pencil on board, drawing depicts the actor as main character, Messala, wearing a ancient-style toga with purple trim and sandals; annotations pencilled on the right-side margin read “Messala / Toga / #3 / Scs. 297/298;” more notes about the costume are written on the verso, and small swatches of fabric are stapled to the right-side margin. Also included is a second costume design sketch depicting actress Haya Harareet who portrayed Esther, wearing a traditional Biblical-era ensemble; pencilled notations and fabric swatches also appear on this sketch. Both are signed by noted costumier, Elizabeth Haffenden. 17 x 13in