After what is now known here at the library as The Longest Winterô, we hope this latest Mary Evans missive finds you with an April spring in your step and enjoying the remains of Easter chocolate, not to mention the bank holidays punctuating this month and next.

While it may be over-egging the situation to suggest the country has coronation fever, from a historian's point of view, it's going to be quite something to watch King Charles's coronation on 6th May, the first such event to take place in seventy years.

Don't forget we are one of the finest purveyors of coronation history and we are STILL adding more material. Read on for this month's news which includes our representation of a special royal picture, a canine anniversary and a piece that proves we're at the sharp end of history.

King Charles III - Mary Evans represents first released portrait

As part of our long-standing relationship as exclusive representative of the prestigious Illustrated London News archive, we are thrilled to be able to offer for licensing a new portrait of King Charles III commissioned specially by ILN.

The portrait was painted in oils by the artist Alastair Barford, a former QEST scholar (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) and is the first to be released since the accession and among the first to be commissioned, generating much interest in the world's press in recent weeks.

A detail of the portrait includes a bracelet on His Majesty's wrist, presented to The King by the Amazon indigenous leader, Domingo Peas, at the Palace reception on 17 February when Alastair was able to see the king in person in preparation for the painting. He included the bracelet as a relevant and very current symbol of The King's advocacy on climate change and sustainability.

The portrait of His Majesty is featured on the cover of 'The Illustrated Coronation Edition - King Charles III', published by Illustrated London News, the latest in a long line of coronation 'numbers' for which ILN is justly renowned. Packed with a wide variety of coronation imagery found in the archive housed here at the library, it is available on newsstands now, and is a fantastic rich record of coronation history through the eyes of this seminal publication.

Royal Kennel Club - 150 years

Join us in wishing our friends at the Kennel Club a very happy 150th anniversary. Or perhaps that should be Royal Kennel Club as further congratulations are in order after the club received a Royal Prefix to mark this significant milestone.

The Kennel Club was established in 1873 and since its inception has held royal patronage. It began with the purpose of bringing order and regulation to dog shows and field trials which were taking place at the time and, since then, has evolved into a multi-faceted organisation encompassing the UK pedigree and working dog registry, The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, Crufts dog show, the Young Kennel Club, the Good Citizen Dog Training scheme and the members' club itself, which has over 1500 members. Due to our founder Mary's lifelong love of dogs, we have had close connections with the club and in recent years have collaborated with them on two photographic exhibitions, one on Thomas Fall and another on Shirley Baker last year.

The Royal Kennel Club's latest exhibition celebrates their anniversary by bringing together treasures from their own archive: original paintings, historical artefacts, documents, vintage photographs and more will be on display at the club's gallery in Clarges Street, Mayfair, London. Curated as an immersive calendar of the last 150 years of society with nods to significant historic events, the exhibition features poignant images of the bomb damage from 1941 on Clarges Street, and delves into the history of women in The Kennel Club, such as the Duchess of Newcastle, first Chairman of the Ladies Branch in 1901, and Florence Nagle, who gained full membership for women.

Visit their website to find out more.

A Coronation Crystal Ball

We have just added a rather interesting coronation image to our website - a front cover of the Sunday Dispatch featuring an illustration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II by the Italian-born artist, Fortunino Matania. While this might not seem particularly noteworthy, the headline reveals why this picture is worth further consideration.

The date of the newspaper is 31 May 1953, 2 days before the actual coronation. Matania had painted an impression of the scene inside Westminster Abbey at the moment the Queen was crowned, and his forecast of a future event turned out to be incredibly accurate.

Perhaps it is not so surprising. Matania had begun working as a magazine illustrator while still a teenager in Italy before moving to London in 1900, where he was engaged as special artist of The Sphere in 1904. Matania had been witness to three coronations prior to the 1953 ceremony, and had also been present at many more royal ceremonial events in Britain, Europe and beyond. His half century of experience, his virtuosity and passion for researching his subjects, meant the authenticity and accuracy of his pictures were widely admired, and even by the 1950s, when photography had eclipsed illustration in depicting current events, Matania still found a way to make his style of reporting relevant.

Dambusters 80th anniversary

16th May 2023 marks the 80th anniversary of the most famous single air raid of World War Two, Operation Chastise, better known as the Dambusters Raid. The anniversary will be marked with various events around the UK, including flypasts and special Dambuster tours at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

We have incredible images from the Studio Canal archive showing stills and behind-the-scenes shots from the 1955 film The Dam Busters, as well as images of some of the real people involved in the raid.

Sword Play

We like to say we live and breathe history here at the library, and our finance manager Dawn, proved that recently by going on a rather unusual holiday - a sword making course in Herefordshire. The sword was made in four parts: the blade, the crossguard, the grip and the pommel, and took two full days of heating and hammering at Oldfield Forge. It was immense fun.

Britain's wonkiest pub

We added a chunk of images to our website of The Crooked House pub in Staffordshire last month, only to find the BBC website reporting a week later that it had been put up for sale by its owners, Marston's.

The 1765 building near Dudley began to take on its lopsided appearance in the 19th century when mining in the area caused one side to gradually start sinking. Our images from the start of the 20th century show both the interior and exterior of this eccentric structure.

Let us know what you think

Thank you for reading our newsletter which we hope continues to be a bountiful source of useful information and plentiful inspiration. If we can help with research, a quote, or if you have any other questions about using our library, please get in touch either by emailing or calling 020 8318 0034. Cheerio until next time.

Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd.  59 Tranquil Vale  Blackheath  London  SE3 0BS. United Kingdom.
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