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.
"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