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Our Latest Newsletter

August greetings to our News of Note readers. We hope you're enjoying the last couple of weeks of the summer holidays and looking forward to a 'new term' where you feel refreshed and reinvigorated. For those of you who are already busy with projects, we bring you a fruitful harvest of ideas and stories for you to squirrel away for the future. Read on to discover arty tales, exhibition updates and more.

Art - Lost and Found

Back in September 2020, we licensed this photograph from The Illustrated London News showing visitors to the 1951 Festival of Britain enjoying Peter Laszlo Peri's sculpture, The Sunbathers, for a didactic panel to accompany the artwork in its new location in Waterloo Station.

What we didn't realise was that there was a local connection to the story behind this sculpture. Despite its starring role in the Festival, afterwards it disappeared and was believed lost.

However, following a call by Historic England in 2016 for lost public art, it was found to be in the garden of the Clarendon Hotel in Blackheath, just a stone's throw from Mary Evans Picture Library! If only we'd known.

Thanks to our colleauge Mark, who spotted this while passing through Waterloo the other day.

Art - Lost and ....

Another art mystery, this time unsolved, arrived in our inbox last week. This terrific illustration of Henry VIII's flagship, The Mary Rose, which sank in 1545, was commissioned by The Illustrated London News for its October 1983 cover at the time the wreck had been successfully raised after 437 years at the bottom of the Solent.

The original painting, by Robin Lawrie, was then gifted to a friend whose house was burgled during a stay in hospital; unfortunately the painting was among the items stolen. Sadly, the original owner passed away recently and his family would love to track down the whereabouts of the Mary Rose painting. We'd like to help and while it's a long shot, we thought we'd post the story here in the hope that somebody somewhere may have seen it.


Dominating the news at the moment is the dreadful situation in Afghanistan, a country that has suffered centuries of invasions, insurgencies, coups and civil war.

For a historical perspective on current events, we've pulled together a comprehensive selection of images documenting its turbulent past from the Anglo-Afghan Wars of the Victorian era, to the Saur Revolution and Soviet intervention during the 1970s and the invasion by US forces in 2001.

Of particular note, and added only this week, is picture number 13467510, an illustration showing the evacuation by the RAF of six hundred refugees of varying nationalities during the 1928-9 revolution.

Over 50 days and 83 flights, each Vickers-Napier 'Victoria' aircraft carrying two pilots and twenty-three passengers successfully completed the mission with no lives lost.

Beautiful People

We always keep a close eye on what our friends at the Fashion & Textile Museum are doing and their next exhibition, Beautiful People - The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture is guaranteed to be a corker. Exploring the fashion and faces of London's boutique scene, it reminds us of just how creative, experimental and era-defining shops and designers like Biba, Ossie Clarke and Granny Takes a Trip really were. To take your own trip down a very groovy memory lane, we've put together this set of images celebrating the hippest bits of fashionable, swinging London.

Meanwhile, may we recommend some bedtime reading in the form of, London Life, the book published by Omnibus Press, based on the short-lived magazine of the mid-60s housed here at the library. We have licensed a fabulous selection of London Life covers to Art & Hue - featuring beautiful people of course - who have given them their own unique treatment. Take a look here - it's what all the cool kids have on their walls.

Last Chance to See: John Hassall, Poster Artist

The John Hassall exhibition at the Heath Robinson Museum, curated by staff member Luci, is in its final week and will close at 4pm on Sunday 29th August. It's been the museum's most complex exhibition to date with over two hundred items from twenty-five different lenders, and is more than worth a trip up to Pinner on the Metropolitan line. Here are just a handful of the comments from visitors who've enjoyed the first show about Hassall in over fifty years:

'I liked John Hassall's art before seeing the exhibition, and now I like it even more. A really splendid exhibition, so informative and detailed and so much beautiful art to see.'

'The Hassall exhibition featured more than I had expected - well done.'

'Exhibition very comprehensive. Informative text panels. Beautifully curated.'

'The John Hassall exhibition was superb. It's a shame it can't run longer.'

Check the museum's website before visiting.