Collections Crossover: What are our Bestselling Pictures?
Collections Crossover: What are our Bestselling Pictures?
We're approaching things a little differently for this week's newsletter, and thought we'd collate and share with you a rundown of some of our most popular images. The list is a varied one, combining some classic as well as quirky historical subjects, fabulous graphic illustration and a worthy winner of the top spot.
As befits our status as the UK's leading historical library, over the years we're consistently asked for some of the most well-known events - the Irish famine for instance, which is best represented by contemporary engravings from The Illustrated London News or photographs of the Blitz from the archive of the London Fire Brigade. An image of the First Class staircase on board RMS Titanic from Onslow's Auctioneers is the most-used image from our vast array of content on this perennially popular subject, while Great War history is reflected in a heartwarming Christmas truce illustration by A. C. Michael and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Alfred Leete's famous WW1 Kitchener London Opinion cover turned recruitment poster.
While we will always be able to supply the typical, text-book history material, don't forget that we also like to show the unusual, offbeat and unexpected side of the past; an ILN report on the influence of Tutankamen's discovery on Cartier jewellery is one example, while suffragist Edith Garrud demonstrating ju-jitsu as a form of self-defence from The Sketch in 1910 is another winner and has been used in all kinds of ways from an episode of QI to a visual backdrop at U2's Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary tour! Renewed interest in 1932's Kinder Scout mass trespass also elevated our image, taken from the Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News in the ILN archive, to a top spot among our bestsellers.
Elsewhere, there is a good showing for illustration. Several of John Tenniel's classic Alice in Wonderland pictures appear in the top 100, as do a number of art deco magazine illustrations, one of the most popular of which is 'A Fashion Phantasy' by theatre and fashion designer Gordon Conway in 1928. Top of this sector is 'Aerial Manoeuvres' - a linocut of starlings in flight from the collection of artist Robert Gillmor MBE, which has been used for cards, stationery and cushions. Artistic and reportage photography also takes its place, notably in the form of a moody image of the Brandenberg Gate in fog, used for the cover of the global bestseller, 'Alone in Berlin', while Roger Mayne's famous photograph of a girl dancing has been licensed more than twenty times.
Among our most popular royal subjects is a photograph of Queen Victoria with Abdul Karim aka 'The Munshi' and a charming portrait of Prince Philip around the age of six, originally published in The Tatler. We've had a long-standing commitment to women's history since we were founded in 1964, so it seems fitting that among our bestsellers is a portrait of Emily Davison, who became a martyr of the suffrage cause after her death at the Derby in 1913, and a photograph of Mary Seacole, which, having been licensed 62 times in total, remains number 1 in the Mary Evans bestselling pictures chart.
Whether you're searching for the famous or the obscure, we hope this newsletter (and all our others) serves as a reminder of the broad and eclectic nature of our library. We encourage all our pic-pickers (see what we did there?) to get in touch if we can help with research or a quote. Call us on 020 8318 0034 or email
Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd.  59 Tranquil Vale  Blackheath  London  SE3 0BS. United Kingdom.
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