[Christopher Fry's Festival of Britain play 'A Sleep of Prisoners'.] Unique volume with corrected script, ephemera, photographs, signatures of actors and audience including John Gielgud, Edith Evans, Sybil Thorndike, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh.

Christopher Fry (1907-2005), playwright; John Gielgud; Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Sybil Thorndyke, Edith Evans, Ronald Searle, Joyce Grenfell, Cecil Beaton [Festival of Britain]
Publication details: 
'A Festival of Britain Production': London, Oxford and elsehwere. 1951 and 1952.

It is difficult to do justice to this unique volume, which not only contains the script of the play, with Fry's autograph emendations, but also the signatures of those connected with the production, along with those of a host of theatrical luminaries including Olivier and Gielgud, Edith Evans and Sybil Thorndyke; sixteen large black and white photographs (fourteen production stills by Houston Rogers, a portrait of three of the actors by Cecil Beaton, and a portrait of Fry himself); associated ephemera including the programme and reviews, and a manuscript mock-up poster; and correspondence by:

[ Dame Sybil Thorndike. ] Typed Letter Signed ('Sybil Thorndike') to 'Mrs. Radcliffe', explaining her reasons for being unable to sit for 'Mr. Priest'.

Dame Sybil Thorndike [ Agnes Sybil Thorndike ] (1882-1976), English actress [ Alfred Priest (1874-1929), English artist ]
Publication details: 
On her letterhead ('Under the Direction of Bronson Albery & Lewis Casson'), from the Criterion Theatre, London. 1 February 1923.

1p., 4to. In fair condition, aged and creased, with slight tearing at edges. She begins: 'Please forgive me for not answering your letter before, but I have been so rushed!' She is not able to 'sit for Mr. Priest just at present': 'We are just on the point of starting rehearsals for several plays to be toured and, in addition, my two small girls are ill, so that I want to spend all my spare time with them.' She is trying to 'get out of' sittings for another artist.

Album of 49 photographs by the Victorian photographer William Claridge of Berkhamstead, with the ownership inscription of his granddaughter Sybil Maude Hubert, and including character studies of individuals, and an unknown view of the City of London

William Claridge (1797-1876) of Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, Victorian photographer; his granddaughter Sybil Maude Hubert [married name Churchill] (1872-1944)
Publication details: 
[Berkhamstead] The photographs dating from c. 1855 to 1876. Sybil M. Hubert's ownership inscription dated 1883.

49 photographic prints, laid down on 48pp. of a small (16.5 x 13 cm) contemporary 4to album, quarter-bound with brown leather spine and brown cloth boards, with yellow endpapers. No captions: the only manuscript in the volume being the ownership inscription of 'Sybil M. Hubert | 1883' on the front free endpaper. A fragile survival: aged and discoloured, with occasional staining from damp, which also caused some of the photographs to stick to one another, with slight damage occurring on their being detached; binding also in poor condition, with boards detached and leaves loose.

Two Autograph Letters Signed (both 'Sybil Mc.Donnell') from Lady Sybil Mary McDonnell, daughter of the 6th Earl of Antrim, to Cecily Parker of Chester, discussing their autograph collections, and enclosing a caricature of her French teacher 'Tottie'.

Lady Sybil Mary McDonnell (1876-1959), daughter of William Randall McDonnell (1851-1918), 6th Earl of Antrim, and from 1897 wife of Vivian Hugh Smith, 1st Baron Bicester
Publication details: 
Both on letterheads of Glenarm Castle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. 'Friday' and 'Sunday' [both in envelope postmarked 29 May 1891].

Entertaining letters reflecting the privileged childhood of a member of the Irish nobility in the late Victorian period. Both in good condition, on lightly-aged paper, in aged envelope, with stamps and postmarks, addressed to 'Miss C. Parker | The Paddocks | Eccleston | Chester'. Letter One: 'Friday'. 1p., 12mo. She is sending 'some autographs which Mother gave me' (not present), and has 'put whoose [sic] they are on their backs in pencil'. She has 'no time to write now' as she is 'going out riding'.

autograph letters signed (x 2).

Tom Heslewood
Publication details: 
one 1910 and one 1940.

Actor and costume designer (1868-?). The first letter, docketted "Alas poor Tom -", to Miss Grosvenor, 4 December 1940, 18 Selwood Terrace., 2 pp, 8vo. He apologises for not being able to attend any of her at homes. "I have been at Plymouth & Cardiff the last fortnight with H. B. Irving [Henry Brodribb Irving, 1870-1919] arranging his new play". The second letter, to L. E. Berman, 21 April 1940, with embossment 52 Temple Fortune Hill, 2 pp, 12mo, in stamped envelope addressed in autograph. He thanks him for forwarding the letter from Barking.

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