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THM/132 - Martita Hunt Collection

Martita Hunt Collection

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This material is held atV&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/132
Dates of Creationc.1910s - 1960s
Name of CreatorMartita Hunt
Language of Material English
Physical Description 5 boxes (10 volumes and 22 folders)

Scope and Content

These files contain scrapbooks, cuttings, photographs, prompt scripts, correspondence and other personal items and ephemera belonging to the stage and screen actress Martita Hunt.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Argentina in 1900, Hunt made her first stage appearance in the 1920s with the Liverpool Repertory Company, before going on to work in the West End. She joined the Old Vic in 1929, where she played many roles from Lady Macbeth to Rosalind. She returned to work in the West End in the 1930s although her first major success in a leading role was in America in Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot. She also appeared in many films, notably as Miss Havisham in David Lean's 1946 version of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. Fame eluded her until 1948, when she was asked to play the lead in the Broadway production of The Madwoman of Chaillot. Her performance (also her Broadway debut) won her a Tony award. Hunt died in 1969 at her home in London.


This collection has been organised into the following series:

  • THM/132/1 - Scrapbooks
  • THM/132/2 - Review cuttings
  • THM/132/3 - Photographs
  • THM/132/4 - Prompt scripts
  • THM/132/5 - Correspondence
  • THM/132/6 - Personal items and ephemera

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance's Reading Room, which is located at Blythe House, 23 Blythe Rd, Olympia, London, W14 0QX. The Reading Room is open Tuesday to Friday between 10.15 am and 4.30 pm. Access to it is by appointment only. To request an appointment please email or telephone 020 7942 2698.

Access to some of these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Conditions Governing Use

Archival material may not be photocopied. Arrangements can be made to photograph material in the reading room using non-flash photography.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to Martita Hunt may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, and photographs files, as well as the library collections.

Please ask for details.


Actresses  --  Great Britain 
Theatre  --  Great Britain 

Personal Names

Hunt,  Martita. ( 1900-1969) 
Lean,  David. ( 1908-1991) 

Cataloguing Info

TitleMartita Hunt Collection
CreationCreated by Veronica Castro using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2012-03-16


Reference Number(s)THM/132/1
Dates of Creation1927 - 1938
Physical Description 10 volumes

Scope and Content

This file contains ten scrapbooks, each containing some or all of the following materials: British newspaper, periodical and magazine theatre and movie reviews, images and personal feature cuttings, caricatures, production programmes. Each has an index of contents on the inside front cover. The volumes are dated as follows:

  • 1927. I
  • 1927. II
  • 1928 - 1929.I
  • 1929. II
  • 1929. III - 1930.I
  • 1932. I
  • 1932. II - 1933. I
  • 1936. II
  • 1937-1938
  • 1938. II

Review cuttings

Reference Number(s)THM/132/2
Dates of Creation1939 - 1962
Physical Description 7 folders

Scope and Content

These folders contain national and/or international newspaper and magazine review and feature cuttings for the following theatre productions and films:

  • An Ideal Husband, 1943.
  • Great Expectations film, 1945-1947. This folder also includes three cuttings reviewing the 1939 stage version.
  • The White Devil, 1947.
  • The Madwoman of Chaillot, 1950-51.
  • The Sleeping Prince, 1953.
  • Various stage productions and films and one television show, cuttings dating from 1939 to 1962. These include; on stage: Play and Music 1940, Dear Brutus 1941 and Uncle Harry 1943, movies: Prison Without Bars 1938, Welcome, Mr Washington 1944, and The Ghosts of Berkeley Square 1947, and television: Saki 1962.

One folder contains review cuttings for radio broadcasts and dramatic readings, including Hamlet, The School for Scandal, War and Peace and Cupid and Psyche. Cuttings range in date from 1940 to 1944.


Reference Number(s)THM/132/3
Dates of Creationc.1910s - 1960s
Physical Description 11 folders

Scope and Content

These folders contain production and promotional images from stage and screen productions as well as a number of personal and family photographs. Most are annotated on reverse.

Stage productions photographs

Reference Number(s)THM/132/3/1
Dates of Creationc. 1920s - 1950s
Physical Description 7 folders

Scope and Content

These folders contain the following:

  • One black and white production photograph of the 1934 Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which Hunt played Helena.
  • Four black and white production photographs for the 1934 Queen’s Theatre production of Clemence Dane’s Moonlight is Silver. One photograph is signed by members of the cast.
  • One black and white production photograph of the 1939 Rudolf Steiner Hall Theatre production of Dickens’ Great Expectations. This version was adapted for the stage by Alec Guinness.
  • Five black and white publicity portraits of Hunt as Mrs Cheveley in the 1943 Westminster Theatre production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, taken by Cecil Beaton.
  • One black and white production photograph of the Broadway production of The Madwoman of Chaillott by Jean Giraudoux and ten black and white production photograph of the London production of the same play, 7 of which were taken by Angus McBean.
  • Six black and white Angus McBean production photographs of the 1953 Phoenix Theatre production of Terence Rattigans’ The Sleeping Prince. Vivien Leigh also features in some of these.
  • Five black and white photographs from a variety of productions, including an image of Hunt and a co-star Malcolm Graham at the first night of Sweet Yesterday at the Adelphi Theatre, 1945 and a production image of the 1929 production of Le Malade Imaginair at the Old Vic, London.

Personal Names

Shakespeare,  William. ( 1564 - 1616) 
Dane,  Clemence. ( 1888 - 1965) 
Dickens,  Charles. ( 1812 - 1870) 
Guinness,  Alec. ( 1914 - 2000) 
Wilde,  Oscar. ( 1854 - 1900) 
Beaton,  Cecil. ( 1904 - 1980) 
McBean,  Angus. ( 1904 - 1990) 
Giraudoux,  Jean. ( 1882 - 1994) 
Rattigan,  Terence. ( 1911 - 1977) 
Leigh,  Vivien. ( 1913 - 1967) 

Geographical Names

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London
Queen's Theatre, London
Rudolf Steiner Hall Theatre, London
Westminster Theatre, London
Phoenix Theatre, London
Adelphi Theatre, London
Old Vic Theatre, London

Film production photographs

Reference Number(s)THM/132/3/2
Dates of Creation1946 - 1952
Physical Description 2 folders

Scope and Content

These folders contain the following:

  • Sixteen black and white production photographs of David Lean’s 1946 film Great Expectations. Hunt played Miss Havisham opposite Jean Simmons as a young Estella and John Mills as a young Pip.
  • Two black and white production photographs of Ken Annakin’s 1952 film The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men. Hunt played Queen Eleanor.

Personal Names

Lean,  David . ( 1908 - 1991) 
Simmons,  Jean. ( 1929 - 2010) 
Mills,  John. ( 1908 - 2005) 
Annakin,  Ken. ( 1914 - 2009) 

Personal and family photographs

Reference Number(s)THM/132/3/3
Dates of Creationc. 1910s - 1960s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder includes holiday snaps, childhood photographs of Martita and her sister Catherine, a series of photographs of Hunt at her home, studio portraits and photographs of friends and acquaintances. Most are annotated on reverse and some are autographed, including one from Sybil Thorndike. This file also includes two national magazine cuttings and a book plate featuring images of Hunt. Dated from 1910s to 1960s.

Personal Names

Thorndike,  Dame Sybil. ( 1882 - 1976) 

Studio portraits

Reference Number(s)THM/132/3/4
Dates of Creationc. 1920s - 1940s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This file consists of two large black and white studio portraits of Hunt, dates unknown.

Prompt scripts

Reference Number(s)THM/132/4
Dates of Creation1939 - 1940
Physical Description 2 folders

Scope and Content

These folders contain the following:

  • Annotated prompt-script for the 1939 Savoy Theatre production of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Marriage of Blood. Hunt played the role of Mother.
  • Annotated prompt-script for the 1940 Gate Theatre production of Jean Cocteau’s Les Parents Terribles. Hunt played the role of Leonie.

Personal Names

Garcia Lorca,  Federico. ( 1898 - 1936) 
Cocteau,  Jean. ( 1889 - 1963) 

Geographical Names

Savoy Theatre, London
Gate Theatre, London


Reference Number(s)THM/132/5
Dates of Creation1934 - 1948
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Collection of letters and telegrams sent to Hunt from a variety of correspondents, including one from the Incorporated Stage Society congratulating her on her performance as the Mother in the 1939 Savoy Theatre production of Marriage of Blood. Dated items range from 1934 to 1948.

Geographical Names

Savoy Theatre, London

Personal items and ephemera

Reference Number(s)THM/132/6
Dates of Creationc.1910s-1960s
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contins the following:

  • Two copies certificate awarded to Hunt for best performance by an actress for The Madwoman of Chaillot, 1951.
  • Typed copy of a speech written by Hunt for a theatrical lunch in 1954, annotated by hand.
  • Musical notation, entitled Prelude / For Mrs Death by Margaret Greenway. Undated.
  • Used address book belonging to the actress Marguerite Steen.

Personal Names

Steen ,  Marguerite. ( 1894 - 1975)