Tales of walking, eating, watching and playing. Vintage treasures and simple pleasures ... the things that make her happy.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ballet and more ...

I bought a small stack of books last week, mainly because included within them were a couple of Ladybird books to add to my collection. 

However, the pile also included these two wonderful little books by Kay Ambrose – Balletomane’s Sketch Book (1941) and The Ballet Lovers Pocket Book (1945).  I have pored over these books and the photographs and drawings in them have captivated me.
 The Balletomane’s Sketch Book is a slim, lavishly illustrated volume by Kay Ambrose, containing 220 drawings and 80 photographs.  Ambrose was a brilliant and often humorous reporting artist who gained a considerable reputation within the ballet circle of the time.  Touring with the ballet companies, she built up a portfolio of amazing first hand sketches of major ballet productions both in the auditoriums and back stage.
Rehearsal with Orchestra
Born in 1914 in Surrey, she studied fine arts at Reading University, winning awards in drama, elocution and dance.  She went on to write and illustrate many books on ballet and also worked for the National Ballet in Canada in an unofficial capacity, nurturing inexperienced dancers, cooking meals for them and training them in the art of stage make-up.  She later joined them officially as Artistic Director and went on to design and dress over 30 ballets.  She died in 1971.  
Not forgetting the book was published in wartime …  “at the present moment the only matter of universal importance is that of winning the war; every other ‘important’ rests upon that … There is no need, however, to let everything slip; war, however long, is only a temporary state, and, as we are fighting for things of the spirit, art is very relevant to the issue.”
"Startling effect of dressing gown combined with tutu"
 
 "Swan Princess on the telephone (Margot Fonteyn) - New Theatre London, Jan '41"
Alexis Rassine - the strength and movement portayed in these few pencil strokes is fantastic.
Margot Fonteyn
"Dancer tired out"

The Ballet Lovers Pocket Book is more of a little instruction manual.  I love the notes and sketches on make-up application.
 
"Lady into Fox"

Both books now sold
I also bought these lovely gardening charts ...
Pulished by the Sunday Telegraph



And made some of these ...
Vintage domino magnets ...
My paternal grandparents walking along the front at Weymouth

A few fabrics found their way home - love these heavily textured curtains.
Silky self patterns ...
Raspberry stripes ...
All will be coming with me to Sherborne this Saturday.

Apologies for the poor photos, darkness was descending on me rapidly!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends (especially you Karen P!) x
  

21 comments:

VintageVampalicious said...

Have a great day at Sherborne and wish me luck as I will be painting the little gremlins, fairy and grinch faces at our village Christmas bazaar - eek. I absolutely love that ballet book with gorgeous illo's.

KC'sCourt! said...

Thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog yesterday, it did make me feel better
Wow You did well with your buys
Julie xxxxxxxxxx

Alix said...

The ballet sketches are wonderful and so full of atmosphere. My ballet mad daughter would love to be captured by such a talented artist. The gardening chart are lovely too. Good luck at Sherborne (she says wistfully, thinking of happy times many years ago in the Sherborne area...)
x

Jelly Jam said...

I agree, that Alexis Rassine sketch is amazing, so light. Quite exquisite!
Hope things are going well with your pre Christmas fairs.
Ellie
x

Kris said...

Jane,

What an absolutely wonderful find! The sketches are beautiful. I'd say you scored well. I also love the fabric too.

Happy Thanksgiving to you Jane! Today, many a turkey gave his life to be on the dinner table of many Americans...no more "gobble, gobble for them, sigh...

Kris

Aunty Bee said...

Wonderful sketches in the ballet book, what a clever creative woman she was, love the fabric, wish I could be at Sherborne.

greenthumb said...

You always find lovely things, that book is wonderful.

Jen said...

Fabulous finds. The ballet book is extraordinary, and the garden chart got my heart fluttering. :)

Veshoevius said...

That ballet book is a treasure!

fabriquefantastique said...

the books are special treasures. I was at the National Ballet last night, Kay would have been proud.
Lovely fabrics too.

Brown Paper Packages said...

What stunning fabric - and the books... swoon. I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving too XX

vintageandart said...

Great post...l so enjoyed the story of Kay Ambrose, "what a woman", and the book such an interesting pickup. Also the gardening charts are really pretty, and love your fabrics.

A Treasured Past said...

Oooh, the gardening charts are sooo pretty. Hoe you are well and have a great weekend, Tam x

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Wow Balletomane! wonderful drawing I am so so envious, I could pour over that all day long - so much vigour and humour - brilliant,

Sarah x

Vix said...

What fabulous finds, the curtain fabric is so wonderfully rich and opulent and I love the gardening charts. x

Lorraine Young Pottery said...

The fabrics reminded me very much of my grandmothers heavy curtains :)
I think the greatest thing is when old books find their way into the right hands. Something magical at work there!
I love the dressing gown and tutu sketch.
HUGS
Lorraine

Anonymous said...

Another enjoyable post by a dear friend. I absolutely love the fabric with the raspberry stripes.

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and was satisfyingly tired after cooking and clearing up. Thanks for the personal shout-out on the post. I was truly touched.

Karen P.

mrs cheese said...

oh I really do have book envy!
What lovely lovely treasures you've found
xx

Julie said...

Great finds, as usual. x

In My Wild Eden said...

I love seeing the items you share with us. Your enthusiasm for them is contagious! I mentioned you in my post today. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Milady Productions said...

wow. those inky old ballet sketches have jogged some memories!
I have had the pleasure of meeting Dame Margot - in fact, i sat in her lap and wept when i learned of my granfather's death while at a ballet rehearsal. She came to help teach the Pacific Northwest Ballet the proper Nutcracker. She was a lovely lady. Like a queen.
thank you!
milady