Collecting Theatrical Memorabilia :-
For the past 45 years, I have been collecting memorabilia relating to the Performing Arts. The Collection comprises of approximately 9000 items covering subjects such as Theatre, Opera, Ballet, Magic, Music Hall, Pantomime, 'Mystery' Plays, English Folk Drama, Kabuki, Noh, Guignol, Circus, Fairground, Puppetry and other associated areas such as Folklore, Morris Dance, Customs and Traditions (including contemporary and vintage Christmas, Easter and Halloween memorabilia) and even Witchcraft!
I'm a member of the British Music Hall Society, The Circus Friends Association and The International Brotherhood of Magicians. I have the Gold Medal for Public Speaking from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art as well as a Guildhall School of Music and Drama speaking Certificate. My son and I enjoy giving talks about the collection to various groups and societies.
My son, Josh, who is now studying Technical Theatre at the
Josh also has 10 Distinction certificates from LAMDA and LCM and has been involved in the theatre (in front and behind the curtain) since 2007.
We should be delighted to hear from fellow collectors or enthusiasts of any of the Performing Arts.
Fred and Josh Mead. Upminster, Essex UK
The collection includes:-
Approx 600 78rpm records of artists such as Ellen Terry, Sarah Bernhardt, Caruso, Melba, Tamagno, Alessandro Moreschi ; Circus Clown’s costume dating from 1960 worn by Jackie Sloan; costumes worn by Rudolf Nureyev; table drape used by Houdini; A 'production box' used by Chung Ling Soo; Charles Stratton's Calling Card; George Robey’s Walking Cane; water colour by Dan Leno; costume worn by Joan Sutherland; Antique Punch & Judy Puppets; Wayang Puppets; a wooden toy theatre dating from 1900; autograph of Joseph Grimaldi; stage necklace worn by Ellen Terry; costumes from the Royal Opera & Ballet; costume worn by Conchita Supervia; John Ringling’s walking cane; a brass plaque that hung in David Devant’s hospital room in 1937; fan used by Nellie Melba; vintage chair from Richard Wagner's House; Anna Pavlova's shoe stretchers; costumes from the Diaghilev Ballet; Tito Gobbi's Scarpia Tie and belt buckle worn as Rodrigo and costume worn in Simon Boccanegra; bronze pass dated 1671 for Drury Lane Theatre; a piece of metal ‘rescued’ from the demolished Alhambra Theatre ,London; wooden stage dagger used by Edwin Booth; a shawl and shoes worn by Gertie Gitana, costume worn by Florrie Forde, an original caricature drawn by Enrico Caruso, a silk stage drape from The Great Raymond''s magic show, a Parchment scroll, presented to Henry Irving at the Tremont Theatre, Boston, in 1894, pedestal used by Marcel Marceau in "The Mask Maker", the last ( an un-published) photo taken of Aristied Bruant, costume worn by Yasmine Smart, 'Neon' sword as swallowed by Hannibal Hellmurto, costume worn by Anastasia IV in "the Circus of Horrors", original nails and wood fragment from Anne Hathaways's cottage, autograph of Paolo Pergetti-the castrato to sing on the London stage, A 19th Century Mummer’s Horse skull ( the skull which has inset glass eyes, was left behind at Hooton Pagnell Hall, Doncaster, after a group of Mummers had performed at the house, ) ‘Tatter suit’ worn by the Adlington Morris Men, ceramic pot made on stage during the 1914 production of Chu Chin Chow, head dress worn by Beryl Grey, Ross Adam Sanger’s Clown cap, tin plate from Francis Willard & Glynn Falkenstein’s “Spirit Cabinet”, Bertram Mills Circus – two linen pieces taken from a horse blanket, Billy Smart Jnr. Circus costume, 60 original gouache designs dating from about 1910 for Madame Butterfly, souvenir silver posey holder for the Command Performance of Money at Drury Lane 1911, vintage Barong mask from Indonesia, Fanning deck used by Cardini, Master William Betty medal, First edition of Philip Astley’s book, - Astleys’ System of Equestrian education given by Astley to a friend as a present, jewellery worn in Aida by Beniamino Gigli plus a bolero worn by Gigli in Un Ballo in Maschera, Riding crop used by Dame Eva Turner in Un Ballo in 1938, Ring worn by Constance Shacklock in The Sound of Music, Sash worn by John Hanson in The Student Prince, stage sword used by Walter Midgley, Walking cane owned by the English bass Robert Radford, original caricatures drawn by Enrico Caruso, Jack Earl souvenir ring, a rare 16th century pipeclay Christmas figure of Melchior, Boy Bishop tokens, Joanna Southcott refutation leaflet 1815, Bud Flanagan’s straw boater, Pantomime Costumes, 15th century illuminated Latin choir book leaf for Good Friday, Barbette (Van der Clyde Broodway) ostrich fan used at Bertram Mills Circus Olympia, Lord of Haxey Hood Staff of Office 2008, an metal plate taken from the Armadillo’s cage –Bostock & Wombwell’s menagerie 1932, York Mystery Play- Angel’s costume 2006, Billy McComb’s thumb tip collection, table drape used by Okito (Theo Bamberg), a tail hair from Bertram Mills Circus elephant ‘Manjoulah’, a Russian banknote with original pen & ink drawing by Bakst of Ida Rubinstein – the note also autographed by Debussy (the note was once owned by Colette), A theatrical Japanese sword and a neon sword swallowed by Hannibal Hellmurto of the Circus of Horrors, Liberace’s rhinestone broach and jewelled bow tie, Jacket worn by Kalanag (Helmut Schreiber), a watercolour by Louis Weirter once owned by Chung Ling Soo, Edmund Kean- medal presented to him by the Philanthropic Institution 1827, Tosca- a unique silk programme presented to Milka Ternina at Covent Garden 1900, Vintage wooden Kent Hooden Horse, Billy Waters (King of the Beggers- c1778-1823) plaster figure, costume worn by Armand Crabbe, Firebird- headdress used by the Sadler’s Wells Ballet c1954, waistcoat worn by Geraint Evans as Dappertutto, Isaac Van Ambrugh- blue ceramic jug 1845, The Great Raymond (Maurice Raymond Saunders 1877-1948) silk stage drape (30’x30’) used in his show, scroll presented to Henry Irving at the Tremont theatre Boston 1894, plaster figure and autograph of Frederic Gerard (Pere Fede) of the Lapin Agile, Cinderella’s slippers from Old Vic 2007, costume worn by Tito Gobbi as Simon Boccanegra, cloth cap worn by the Cardinal in Ruddigore, Fairground wooden pillars from a waltzer owned by Randall Taylor of Scotland, Derek Hammond-Stroud waistcoat worn as Fanninal, Denys Ilchenko (Hercules-Circus strongman) shirts worn in performance and two bent 6” nails, notebook owned by the German soprano Frieda Hempel, a drum used in the 1923 production of Madame Pompadour autographed by Evelyn Laye, Pantomime costume worn by Berwick Kayler, Agatha Walker ceramic figures, vintage Morris dance Jingle stick, costume worn by one of the Britannia Coconut Dancers, approximately 1000 books covering all aspects of the performing arts, photos, engravings, autographs, letters & props etc.
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