[Enid Bagnold, author and playwright, to celebrity wig-maker Stanley Hall.] Nine Autograph Letter Signed, written in ebullient tones to 'Dear Stanley', discussing dramatic failures, Lady Diana Cooper, Harold Pinter, Dame Sybil Thorndyke, and others.

Enid Bagnold [Enid Algerine Jones, Lady Jones] (1889-1981), author and playwright [Stanley Hall (1917-1994), celebrity wig-maker]
Publication details: 
On letterheads of North End House, Rottingdean, Sussex. Two from 1965, the others from 1967, 1968 and 1969..
SKU: 20856

The nine letters are in good condition, lightly aged. They total nineteen pages, on a mixture of 4to and 12mo leaves, and cards. A chatty and gossipy correspondence, written in a flowing loose hand, going well beyond business matters. The first letter, 9 May 1965, is signed 'Enid B.', the others being signed 'Enid'. It is the only letter in its envelope, which is marked 'Private' by EB and addressed by her to 'Stanley Hall Esq | Wig Creations | 25 Portman Close | Baker Street | London W.1'. The tone of the first letter is representative. She states of one wig: 'I was getting desperate about mini – it looked like coir door mat – but two [buzzy?] to leave theatre. I'm afraid it will all be no good (play) She cant remember her lines sufficiently to get gaiety into it – so its all played on downbeat, like a funeral. Oh dear oh dear – I wore new wig last night – to dine to meet Harold Pinter. I set out full of self-admiration but when I got back at midnight I realised why I had sat straight upright – mum & severe. It was because somehow I looked like a retired Royalty living at Chislehurst. Too gold. Too many insistant [sic] curls. You are so patient you not only make beautiful wigs but you allow me to grumble.' In the second letter (15 May 1968) she asks for a wig to be 'dyed carbon-black – in mourning for my lost play – Terry sd last night “It's a massacre of your play – but it might just be entertainment.” I have a spare stall (with me) if you'd like to be in at the funeral?' In a letter of 19 July [no year] she gives directions, with a crude drawing, to her home: 'A sort of Cockeyed double house “North End House” with blue plaque “Sir Edward Burne Jones” attached to wall'. On 17 January 1968 she writes of Dame Sybil Thorndyke: 'Rehearsals on Monday – Dame Sybil already knew every word – unlike the lady bitch I saw look so pretty in your wig (too low over forehead, dear!) & waited. Sang her famous notes so “Modestly”. As for me – Im not even weaving the topnot [sic] – (I must get Gordon to set it) & tonight Diana's rank & fashion assemble her at my house as the semi-hostess (Duff Cooper Memorial Party) – will sit in a very expensive dress but bought eleven years ago, & my “charming” hair brushed up over pearly-pink baldness – who cares – when they've got rehearsals on?' In the last letter, 24 October 1969, she writes, following 'John's party (which was lovely - & how I liked Tyrone Guthrie)', that she 'felt so tired I almost then & there vowed I'd never go to London for the night again. Thats nonsense, of course. But what isn't nonsense is this: that just now what I have been wishing for for at least 3 years has come to pass – that I am writing happily excitedly & rhymithically [sic] each day – reconstructing my childhood & so on – especially girlhood (& the first agonising coping with men – plus what I thought was the disaster of my looks!)'. Derek Granger, in an obituary in the Independent, 14 January 1994, describes Hall as 'the undisputed master of his trade', 'in his great heyday without peer in his craft', employing 150 workers 'to sort the hair and weave and dress the wigs' in his Portman Close premises. Granger adds that Hall's 'buoyant sociability made him the friend and confidant of many of those whose heads he so cleverly adorned. […] he also began to flourish as a lavish London host and party-giver'.