Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852-1917), English actor and theatre manager (the Haymarket and Her Majesty's, both in London)
On letterhead of Her Majesty's Theatre [ London ]. 1 May [ no year ].
1p., 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged and worn. He thanks him for his 'kind remembrance of me on the first night', adding 'All went brilliantly on that occasion.' He concludes: 'When will you come & see the Theatre?'
Joaquín Álvarez Quintero (1873-1944), Spanish dramatist, with his brother Serafín Álvarez Quintero (1871-1938) one of 'los hermanos Quintero'
'Madrid 23 de Febrero de 1922.'
27pp., 4to. On 23 leaves (one blank), stitched together with red ribbon. Title-page, page of characters, and the play itself on 25pp., with the main text on 20 rectos and supplementary portions on five versos. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn. The play, by both brothers, premiered at Lara Theatre on 8 March 1922, and was published in the same year.
Nathaniel Newnham-Davis (1854-1917), food writer, gourmet and 'Home Front Actor' [ Douglas Sladen [ Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen ] (1856-1947), author and academic ]
On letterhead of the Officers' Mess, Alexandra Palace, N. [ London ] 27 January [ no year, but First World War ].
2pp., 4to. In fair condition, on lightly aged and ruckled paper. The letter begins: 'My Dear Douglas Sladen | Fred Archer has been dead quite a time and I do not know whether Editors of Sporting Papers would consider his life a live subject.
Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson (1853-1937), distinguished Shakespearian actor [ his neice Ida Forbes-Robertson ]
Both on letterheads of Hartsbourne Manor, Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire. 11 May and 7 June 1916.
Both letters are in their envelopes, with stamps and postmarks, addressed by Johnston to his neice at 48 Hogarth Road, South Kensington. ONE: 11 May 1916. 1p., 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged. He thanks her for her 'sweet letter' and explains that he is 'down here in bed with a cold'. He hopes for a meeting when he comes to town, congratulates 'Philip' (her brother Philippe (1898-1968), artist and illustrator) on doing well, and sends best wishes to her mother (the Polish artist Janina Flamm). TWO: 7 June 1916. 2pp., 12mo. Bifolium.
G. Bernard Shaw [ George Bernard Shaw ] (1856-1950), Irish dramatist [ Pollard Crowther, London photographer ]
One of the two with the stamp of Pollard Crowther, F.R.S.A., The Studio, 186 Shaftesbury Avenue, London.
Two black and white photographs, both in fair condition, lightly aged and worn. ONE: A studio photograph, 24.5 x 19.5cm., darkly lit, depicting Shaw pulling the reins of a model horse, pulling a model cart full of apples. Stamped on reverse: 'POLLARD CROWTHER | F.R.P.S. | THE STUDIO, | 106, SHAFTESBURY AVE., W.1. | PHONE REGENT 3897'. The reverse also carries pencil notes for magazine reproduction. The image is not in the National Portrait Gallery collection. TWO: Posed outdoor 21.5 x 16cm.
J. M. Barrie [ Sir James Matthew Barrie ] (1860-1937), Scottish novelist and playwright, creator of 'Peter Pan' [ Eric Forbes-Robertson (1865-1935), artist and actor ('John Kelt') ]
36 x 20 cm. black and white photograph on card. In worn condition, chipped and frayed at the edges and corners, with the top edge cut away in a wavy line along the heads of the top row. The photograph derives from the collection of the painter Eric Forbes-Robertson, who acted under the name of 'John Kelt'.
A. S. Pigott, general manager [ Lillah McCarthy (1875-1960) and Harley Granville-Barker (1877-1946), actors and producers; William Shakespeare; The Savoy Theatre, Strand ]
On letterhead of 'Shakespeare | THE WINTER'S TALE', production by Lillah McCarthy and Granville Barker at the Savoy Theatre, Strand [ London]. 25 October 1912.
1p., 4to. On aged and worn paper. Enquiring whether 'Mr. Kelt' will be free to play, 'at the same salary you are now receiving pro rata', in 'three special Matinees of "The Winter's Tale" on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday during the week commencing November 4th.', and also possibly a further two matinees a week during 'the run of "Twelfth Night"', the first week's matinees being on the Wednesday and Thursday. Beneath Pigott's signature Forbes-Robertson has written: 'got 10s per performance'. From the Forbes-Robertson papers.
Alfred Wareing (1876-1942), theatrical producer [ Eric Forbes-Robertson (1865-1935), artist and actor, brother of Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson (1853-1937) ]
On letterhead of 20 Old Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, W.C. 2 December 1901.
2pp., 12mo. In fair condition, on lightly-aged paper. After thanking him for his note he reports that he has written, 'bearing in mind your injunction, to Ian', i.e. the actor Ian Forbes Robertson (1859-1936). He will be going 'down to S. N. or Notting Hill to see him', and asks Forbes-Robertson to send in the coming week 'some specimens of your black & white work to Edgar Wilson, 1, Middleton Rd. Battersea Rise S.W.' Wilson is 'the art editor of a magazine', and Wareing has written to him suggesting that he take some of Forbes-Robertson's work.
'Norman Forbes' [ Norman Forbes-Robertson (1858-1932), actor and brother of Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson [ W. S. Gilbert [ William Schwenck Gilbert ] (1836-1911), librettist; Gilbert and Sullivan ]
Without place or date.
9pp., 4to. In good condition, on nine leaves of lightly-aged paper. With three deletions in pencil. A stalwart of the Garrick Club, Forbes-Robertson was a friend of Dame Ellen Terry, Oscar Wilde and Sir Edward Elgar, and organised Sir Henry Irving's funeral with Bram Stoker. There is no indication that this paper was ever published. It begins: 'I have come to the conclusion after a long life that those of a passionate nature whose strong emotions, by which their mind is swayed, by anger, fear, joy, grief, love, hatred, etc., often make the ideal friend so long as anger is kept within bounds.
R.A.F. Theatre Pageant Unit; Royal Air Force; Air Ministry, London; John Pudney (1909-77), author; Ralph Reader (1903-82), theatrical impressario; W. J. Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre historian ]
All items from 1947. From various locations in England, including the following in London: The Air Ministry, Adastral House. W. J. Macqueen-Pope, 359 Strand. Ralph Reader Limited, Astoria House, Shaftesbury Avenue, London.
It seems curious that so little information should have survived regarding this 'mammoth show', one of Ralph Reader's 'gigantic pageants', 'sponsored by the Air Council' in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, performed at the Royal Albert Hall and in the provinces, and in which Tony Hancock played an early and prominent part (in four roles, see Item Nine below).
Frank E. Tours [ Frank Tours; Frank Edward Tours ] (1877-1963), English-born Hollywood composer and musical director (Marx Brothers; Citizen Kane; The Emperor Jones) [ W. J. Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960)]
South Laguna. 20 January 1951.
3pp., 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged, with slight staining to one corner from paper clip. A good letter, filled with detail. Apart from brief opening and closing paragraphs the whole of the letter is devoted to reminiscences of his life before leaving England for America. At one point he comments: 'it is only when one is thinking back, as I am now, that one realizes the speed with which time fugits; it is now 21 years since I have been home, and 30 years since Bob and I were in "Irene" at the Empire.' The reminiscences begin: 'Barring a trip to U. S. and Australia with G. P.
Arthur Poyser, International Commissioner for Music, Master of the Lord Mayor's Players and Singers [the Boy Players], and founder in 1908 of the Lord Mayor's Own 1st City of London B.P. Scouts
Dating from between 1904 and 1938.
Poyser was the author of the first 'Official Song-book of the Scout Movement', 'The Scout Song Book' (1912). He published a history of the Tower of London in 1908, 'when I was Master of the Music of the Collegiate Church of Allhallows Barking-by-the-Tower, City of London'. For more information, see The Times, 3 August 1964 ('Roll of Honour for Scouts'). 125 items, including letters, programmes, drawings, postcards, invitations, newspaper and magazine cuttings, relating to the Boy Players and 1st City of London Scout Troop.
'Dulcie Gray' [ Dulcie Winifred Catherine Savage Bailey ] (1915-2011), actress, wife of actor Michael Denison [ (John) Michael Terence Wellesley Denison ] (1915-1998)
None of the three items with place or date. 'Looking Forward, Looking Back' published in 1991. 'Four Years', 1940s or 1950s. The prompt copies for production of 'Curtain Up' at the Guildford Theatre, 1998.
Gray - who in addition to her acting career was a crime novelist and lepidopterist - has an excellent entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which also carries details of Denison. ONE: Typescript of 'Four Years | By | Dulcie Gray'.  + 63pp., 4to. Stapled. With front brown-paper cover with red label bearing title, with stamp of typewriting agency Ethel Christian, 36-38 Southampton Street, Strand. Signature of 'Michael Denison' at head of title-page. On aged and worn paper, and lacking the last couple of leaves and back cover.
[Costume designs for the 1934 production of 'Josephine' by J. M. Barrie, at His Majesty's Theatre, London] [Lady Helen Beerbohm Tree; George Grossmith Jnr; Lyn Harding; Spencer Trevor; Allan Jeayes]
1934; His Majesty's Theatre, London.
Twelve pages of illustrations, each on a separate leaf. Seven are portrait folio, four are portrait 8vo, and one is landscape 8vo. All clear and complete, on aged and creased paper. All coloured in watercolour. The seven folio portraits are: Napoleon as First Consul; Talma; Eugene; Moustache ('Mr. Lyn Harding [(1867-1952)]'); two 'Flunkies'; and Austrian Ambassador ('Mr Spencer Trevor [(1875-1945)]'). The four portrait 8vo illustrations consist of: two of Larose ('Lady Tree [Lady Helen Beerbohm Tree (1858-1937)]'); Louise ('Miss Lemand') and the overcoat of Talma ('Mr.
E. A. Sothern [ Edward Askew Sothern ] (1826-1881), English actor, best-known for playing Lord Dundreary in 'Our American Cousin'
Haymarket Theatre [ London ]. Undated.
On one side of 6 x 10 cm piece cut from the end of a letter. In fair condition, aged, ruckled and a little faded. Reads: '<...> kindly pass | Very soon | If convenient | & oblige - | E. A. Sothern | Haymarket Theatre.'
'Mrs. Cargill' [ Ann Cargill, née Brown ] (1760-1784), opera singer; 'Mrs. Bishop' [ Elizabeth Sarah Bishop, née Lyon ] (1787–1831), actress, wife of Sir Henry Rowley Bishop (1786-1855), composer
[ From the Morning Post, London. ] Cuttings relating to Cargill, dating from between 1777 to 1784. Those relating to Bishop and others, London, 1809-1831.
A total of 93 newspaper cuttings, 87 of which are laid down on eleven 4to leaves of wove paper, the other six cuttings being loose, with one playbill. The cuttings - around two-thirds of which relate to Cargill, most of the rest relating to Bishop - are in fair condition, lightly-aged with a handful worn, on aged leaves worn at edges. Most of the cuttings are dated, and on the few occasions the source is given it is 'M P', i.e. the Morning Post. The first leaf carries a trimmed-down playbill for a benefit performance for 'Mrs.
Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905), eminent Victorian actor-manager
On letterhead of 15A, Grafton Street, Bond Street, W. [ London ] 15 February [ no year ].
2pp., 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged. In a difficult hand. He hopes there is 'no misunderstanding about the box for tonight', which is reserved in the recipient's name at the theatre: '& you have only to ask for your box'. He ends: 'We shall meet tonight I hope after the play.'
1p., 4to. Bifolium. In fair condition, aged and worn, with loss from breaking of the red wax seal, part of which still adheres. Addressed, with postmarks, on reverse of second leaf, to 'Mrs. Hatton. | Kidwelly. | Carmarthenshire.' The letter begins: 'My dear Ann, | Never allow yourself to feel one moment's anxiety about your remittances. Rely firmly on what I have often told you, that they shall never fail you while I can by any means supply them. - Get well as fast as you can, and thank Mrs.
Samuel Phelps (1804-1878), actor-manager at Sadler's Wells, London
'T[heatre]. R[oyal]. Worthing'. No date [ 1836 ].
2pp., 4to. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper. The letter begins: 'My Dear Sir/ | I should like much to visit Exeter, but the distance is so great & travelling (with my family) so confoundedly expensive - that I had made up my mind, this summer should end my wanderings - however as Exeter is in the "land of my nativity" [he was born at Devonport] it is a strong temptation for me to winter with you'. He refers him to 'Mr Hughes' with regard to his 'capability', and states his terms 'for myself & wife who can play little chambermaids &c - and be useful on all occasions'.
Samuel Beazley (1786-1851), architect and playwright [ Thomas Morton (c.1764-1838), playwright ]
Place indecipherable. 13 December [ 1825 postmark ].
3pp., 4to. Bifolium. Aged and worn, with slight loss to second leaf from removal of the seal. Addressed, with postmark, on reverse of second leaf, to 'Thomas Morton Esqre | Pangbourn | near Reading | Berks'. Describing in detail the legal opinion of a solicitor named 'Mr Hart', who has examined the papers of the case, following an interview regarding the 'rebuilding for a few hundred more than the Insurance Money' of 'Wales's house' and the making of a 'Saleable property', and with reference to 'Mr. Robin'.
'No. 89 Great Russell Street | Bloomsbury Square - London | Octr. 3d. 1816.'
1p., landscape 12mo. In fair condition, on aged and worn paper. Previously folded into a plain packet, presumably to enclose a theatre ticket, and attached with a wafer. Reads: 'My dear Ann, let me know that you have received the enclosed safely, and send me word that you are well. Yours affectionately - | J: P: Kemble.'
1p., landscape 12mo. In fair condition, on aged and worn paper, with stub from mount adhering at one edge. Written in high spirits, and beginning: 'My dear Sir, | Othello's occupation's done! - I would not answer your obliging letter, till I had seen my Physician, who did not return to town from his affairs in the country till yesterday.' It is 'impossible' for him to 'venture', but he asks him to accept his 'best thanks, my dear Sir, for all your kindnesses to me, - believe that I shall always rejoice in your prosperity and be most happy to contribute to it'.
Charles Kemble (1775-1854), English actor [ C. R. Smith [ Charles Roach Smith ] (1807-1890), antiquary and archaeologist; British Archaeological Association ]
Athenaeum Club [ London ]. 27 August 1847.
1p., 12mo. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper, with slight rust spotting around date at head. He explains that it is 'under a mistake' that he has been 'proposed as an Associate of the Central Committee of the British Archaeological Association', and he declines the 'honor intended' with 'sincere thanks'.
John Philip Kemble, eminent English actor, manager of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden [ John Foster senior (1758-1827), Liverpool architect ]
The letter dated 'April 23d. 1802. | No. 89 Great Russel [sic] Street | Bloomsbury Square [ London ].' The copy letter of the same date, without place.
2pp., 4to. The letter takes up one side of the leaf, and the copy letter the other. In fair condition, on aged and worn paper. Docketted by recipient. In the letter he explains that he is enclosing 'a Letter I have had from Mr. Forster, and on the opposite Page my Answer to it.' (Forster's letter is not present as Kemble asks the recipient to return it.) He concludes: 'we both beg to be remembered to Mr. Currie'. The copy letter, headed '(Answer.)', is thirty lines long.
J. C. Williamson Ltd., Australian theatre management firm, founded by American actor James Cassius Williamson (1845-1913)
[ Printed by Whitmarks Ltd, Sydney, Australia, for the publishers City Ads. Ltd. ] The 17 numbers dating from between 1928 and 1941.
The collection is in fair condition, with rusted staples, and slight age and wear to the covers of most of the numbers, with a handful in not such good condition, the covers of one of them being almost detached. All 4to, and ranging in length between 20pp. and 64pp. Well-illustrated, with coloured covers, biographies, news and gossip, relating to actors, plays, the chain and its theatres, as well as wider topics such as 'Russian Ballet in London', 'A Few Toilet Hints. By Phyllis Monkman', 'The Grenadier Guards Band. Shortly to Tour Australia', and 'Modern Make-Up'. By Miss May Murray.
James Sheridan Knowles (1784-1862), Irish dramatist and actor [ Beilby & Knotts, Birmingham; William Spencer Northhouse, editor, 'The Free Press', Glasgow newspaper ]
'July 1828 | Port Bannatyne | near Rothsay | Island of Bute | N[orth]. B[ritain].' [ Scotland. ]
3pp., 4to. Bifolium. On aged and worn paper, with some repair, and traces of stub from mount still adhering. Addressed on reverse of second leaf, with postmarks, to 'Messrs Beilby & Co | Printing Ink Manufacturers | Birmingham'. On the same page, in another hand: 'Mr Reuben Sparks.' Knowles's entry in the Oxford DNB gives the context. In 1816 he 'moved to Glasgow, where he established and ran a school for nearly twelve years [...] In 1823 and 1824 he added to his income by conducting the literary department of the Free Press, a Glasgow paper which advocated liberal and social reform.
Sir Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934), playwright [ Arthur Cecil [ Arthur Cecil Blunt (1843-1896), actor-manager and playwright ]
On letterhead of 64 St John's Wood Road, NW [ London ]. 26 May 1887.
2pp., 12mo. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper. Addressed to 'Arthur C. Blunt, Esq', with salutation to 'My dear Cecil'. With regard to 'Mr. Wigram's letter' he writes that he 'would rather not dramatize a novel, and did I feel an inclination to do so I don't think I am at all a good man for the work'. He nevertheless asks the recipient to inform Wigram that he is 'complimented by his and Lord Desart's proposal'. The postscript is mildly amusing: 'P.S. I hope I am not liable to misconstruction in enquiring after your Housemaid's Knee'.
George Grossmith (1847-1912), humourist, author, actor and singer [ George R. Sims (1847-1922), journalist and bon vivant ]
On letterhead of 55 Russell Square, W.C. [ London ] 22 June 1908.
4pp., 12mo. Bifolium. Aged and stained, with creasing along one edge. A wonderful letter, linking two notable figures in late-Victorian society, beginning: 'Do I remember it? how can I ever forget it, considering that we introduced ourselves to each other, without any introduction; & that casual acquaintanceship has developed into a friendship (without a discordant note) which has lasted for about 38 years.' Regarding their first meeting he writes: 'I was not subpoenaed as a short hand writer, as no such functionary was engaged at Bow St.
Dame Marie Tempest [ Mary Susan Etherington ] (1864-1942), English singer and actress ('the queen of her profession')
On letterhead of 'Miss Marie Tempest'. 'Monday' [ no date ].
1p., 8vo. In fair condition, aged and worn, with slight loss to one corner and creasing to another. Strengthened on reverse with a small piece of tape. Letterhead in red, with Tempest writing in green ink. She writes warmly: 'I've read your Play, and I think it charming up to the point of the two people who are crooks! It suffers from the same thing that our present Play suffers from. Too sudden a jump!' She invites him to go and see the play, 'and you will gather what I mean'. She ends by describing his play as 'amusing and witty'.