Greetings from the team at Mary Evans as we present to you our May newsletter. It's a bumper edition this month, so without much preamble we'll dive straight in.
Illuminating the past
Recently added to our website is a set of fascinating lantern slides from the Terry Parker Collection, showing scenes from around the world dating to the turn of the last century, including some that capture Britain's colonial past in India and Persia (Iran). Other slides take in stunning landscapes, exquisite architecture and sleepy villages around Italy, France, Germany and Britain; not only are they an evocative and transporting record of these places, but the quality is top-notch.
Michael Diamond's collection of theatricalia is a treasure trove of all things thespian from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We have showcased this in a previous Collection of the Week, but wanted to highlight some new content we've received in the past few weeks.
Michael's expertise in theatre history and the wider world of entertainment means this latest set includes musicals, pantomimes and stage plays both famous and obscure, while among the postcards advertising variety acts are those for Alda and Doret, "sensational, unique and thrilling" acrobatic performers, not forgetting Hamilton Conrad and his Wonder Pigeons.
Replacing 'Line of Duty' in the prime Sunday evening drama slot last night was an adaptation of Nancy Mitford's 'The Pursuit of Love' written and directed by Emily Mortimer, and starring Lily James, Andrew Scott and Dominic West. The 1945 novel, a romantic comedy with tragic undertones, marked Mitford's arrival as a best-selling novelist, and drawing on her own experiences of family life, was heavily autobiographical. If watching 'The Pursuit of Love' puts you in a Mitford frame of mind, then may we remind you of our excellent selection of images recording Nancy, her infamous sisters and wider circle with many by renowned society portrait photographer Madame Yevonde.
On the subject of classic drama revivals, the news that Jenny Agutter is to reprise her role of Bobbie Waterbury in a sequel to the 1970 film, The Railway Children, has prompted us to
share images of the making of the original exclusively from the Studio Canal archive. As well as stills, there are some excellent behind-the-scenes moments, such as a delightful shot of Dinah Sheridan skipping with her child co-stars.
ILN Archive - 100 years of history at our fingertips
We have represented the Illustrated London News archive for fourteen years, housing the original volumes of the nine different publications here at the library in Blackheath. If you're not familiar, it is an incomparable visual record of the past from the mid-19th to mid-20th century, comprising of The ILN, The Graphic, The Sphere, The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News, The Sketch, The Tatler, The Bystander and Britannia & Eve (as well as the Illustrated War News and the short-lived London Life magazine).
Four years ago, the archive's pages were digitised and are now accessible for research via the British Newspaper Archive. If you have a subscription and find any image or page from the ILN archive you'd like to use, then just drop us a line with the details of what it is and how you'd like to use it, and we can provide a quote and a hi-res scan if you'd like to go ahead. If you don't have a subscription then fear not, we are here to help and are more than happy to search the digitised archive on your behalf. Whether you're looking for gipsy encampments or Germany nobility, strikes or summer fashion, cartoons or court cases the ILN often yields the perfect picture.
The Poster King at the Heath Robinson Museum
Last month we brought you news of a recent book about artist and 'Poster King' John Hassall, written by our Head of Sales & Research Luci. Since then, Luci has been spending her weekends working on a John Hassall exhibition which will take place at the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner from 22 May to 29 August. This will be the first show in more than 50 years about this important figure in the history of art and design, and is set to be a fitting tribute to Hassall, with over twenty-five posters (including his famous 'Skegness is SO Bracing'), original artwork and illustration, paintings, nursery lithographs, photographs, portraits, personal effects and ephemera assembled from lenders far and wide, both private collectors and national museums, including of course, one or two items from our own archive here at Mary Evans.