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THM/36 - Ivor Novello Stage and Film Collection
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Ivor Novello Stage and Film Collection

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36
Dates of Creation 1910s-1951
Name of Creator Ivor Novello
Language of Material English
Physical Description 19 boxes and 1 volume

Scope and Content

This collection consists of production photographs, photograph albums, scrapbooks and cuttings, publicity materials, sheet music, autograph books, designs, artwork and personal correspondence relating to the career and personal life of Ivor Novello.

Administrative / Biographical History

David Ivor Davies, better known as Ivor Novello became one of Britain's most popular entertainers of the early 20th century. Having first achieved success as a songwriter, he went on to become a successful actor, playwright and composer.

Born in Cardiff in 1893 to Clara Novello Davies, an internationally known singer and choral conductor and David Davies, a tax collector. Having shown early musical promise, Novello won a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he sang in the choir and began writing songs. His first song was published at the age of 15.

He moved to London in 1913 and took a flat above the Strand Theatre, which was to be his home for the rest of his life. The following year Novello wrote Keep the Home Fires Burning, a song which became a huge success, being particularly poignant in a time of war. From here he started to write lyrics and scores for musical comedies and revues.

Fame soon followed after the war, and Novello began a career as an actor. His first lead role was in the 1919 silent movie The Call of the Blood. He was to star in many more silent films, and eventually moved on to have success in 'talkies'. With his classic profile he gained matinee idol status amongst the film-going public and scored successes with films such as The Lodger, Downhill, The Vortex and A South Sea Bubble, his last silent movie. During his film career he worked with such luminaries as D.W. Griffith and Alfred Hitchcock.

Novello made his stage debut in 1921 with Deburau at London's Ambassadors Theatre. His theatrical career saw him composing as well as writing for a variety of stage productions. In 1924 he wrote his first play, a collaboration with actor Constance Collier titled The Rat (later made into a movie, as well as inspiring two sequels). He starred in the play and the film adaptation that followed. Clearly fond of appearing in his own productions, he also wrote and starred in, amongst others; Symphony in Two Flats (1929), Proscenium (1933) and Glamorous Night (1935), the first of several Novello-penned plays which were staged at the Drury Lane Theatre, London.

In 1949, and only hours after finishing a performance of King's Rhapsody, Novello died suddenly from a coronary thrombosis. He was 58. Having dominated British music theatre in the 1930s and 1940s, Novello left behind a vast legacy of film performances, plays and musical works. His Maidenhead home later became the Redroofs Theatre School and since the 1950s the annual Ivor Novello Awards have honoured the best of British musical songwriting talent.

Arrangement

This collection has been organised into the following series:

  • THM/36/1 - Stage productions
  • THM/36/2 - Film productions
  • THM/36/3 - Publicity materials
  • THM/36/4 - Ivor Novello photographs and portraits
  • THM/36/5 - Autograph and visitor books
  • THM/36/6 - Designs and artwork
  • THM/36/7 - Correspondence

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre & 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 tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk or telephone 020 7942 2698.

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

Conditions Governing Use

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

Appraisal Information

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

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

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

Please ask for details.

Separated Material

The following items have been removed from the collection, but copies of each may be found in the V&A Theatre and Performance's core and periodical collections.

  • Two copies of The Play Pictorial, No.175, Vol. XXIX: feature on Theodore & Co.
  • The Play Pictorial, No.333, Vol. LV: feature on Symphony in Two Flats.
  • The Play Pictorial, No.362, Vol. LX: feature on I Lived With You.
  • Theatre World, No.88, Vol. XVII: feature on I Lived With You.
  • The Play Pictorial, No.377, Vol. LXIII: feature on Proscenium.
  • Theatre World, No.103, Vol. XX: feature on Proscenium.
  • Two copies of Theatre World, No.153, Vol. XXVIII: feature on Crest of the Wave.
  • Two copies of programme for Theodore & Co at the Gaiety Theatre, London.
  • Copy of programme for Theodore & Co at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool.
  • Copy of programme for Glamorous Night at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.

Subjects

Actors -- Great Britain
Composers -- Great Britain
Musical theatre -- Great Britain -- History -- 20th century

Personal Names

Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)

Cataloguing Info

Title Ivor Novello Stage and Film Collection
Creation Created by Veronica Castro using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2011-07-25
Revisions

Stage productions

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1
Dates of Creation 1917-1951
Physical Description 36 folders

Production photographs

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1
Dates of Creation 1922-1949
Physical Description 23 folders

Scope and Content

These folders contain predominantly production photographs - both studio publicity shots and stage shots - of theatrical productions which Novello wrote or starred in, or both, during his career.

A few sets of photographs may refer to productions in which Novello did not participate. These will be noted at file level.

The photographs feature a wealth of reference information in regards to theatrical set, prop and costume design of the era.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.


The Yellow Jacket

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1/1
Dates of Creation 1922
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains 10 black and white production photographs of The Yellow Jacket, which played at the Kingsway Theatre, London, in 1922. In this production Novello played Wu Hoo Git. Three of the photographs are Novello portraits.

The photos vary in size from 9x14cm to 24x29cm. Some are annotated, all are undated.

Personal Names

Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)
Lloyd, Doris. ( 1896-1968)

Geographical Names

Playhouse Theatre, London

The Spanish Lovers

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1/2
Dates of Creation 1922
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains 45 black and white production photographs of The Spanish Lovers, which played at the Playhouse Theatre, London, in 1922. In this production Novello played Javier opposite Doris Lloyd as Maria Del Carmen. Eleven of the photographs are Novello portraits.

The photos vary in size from 10x15cm to 24.5x29cm. Some are annotated, all are undated.

Personal Names

Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)
Lloyd, Doris. ( 1896-1968)

Geographical Names

Playhouse Theatre, London

Enter Kiki

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1/3
Dates of Creation 1923
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains 48 black and white production photographs of Enter Kiki, which played at the Playhouse Theatre, London, in 1923. Novello starred alongside Gladys Cooper, who also produced the play. Four of the photographs are Novello portraits.

Photos range in size from 28x35.5cm to 10x24cm. Some are annotated, all are undated.

Personal Names

Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)
Cooper, Gladys. ( 1888-1971)

Geographical Names

Playhouse Theatre, London

Old Heidelberg

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1/4
Dates of Creation 1925
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains 51 black and white production photographs of this 1925 revival of Old Heidelberg. Novello starred as Prince Karl opposite Dorothy Batley. Twelve of the photographs are Novello portraits.

The photographs range in size from 9.5x11cm 27x35cm. All are undated.

Personal Names

Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)
Batley, Dorothy

Geographical Names

Wyndham's Theatre, London

The Firebrand

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1/5
Dates of Creation 1926
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains 22 black and white production photographs of The Firebrand, which played at Wyndham's Theatre, London, in 1926. In this production Novello played Benvenuto Cellini opposite Constance Collier. Two of the photographs are Novello portraits.

The photographs range in size from 12x29cm to 23x28.5cm. Some are annotated, all are undated.

Personal Names

Collier , Constance. ( 1878-1955)
Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)

Geographical Names

Wyndham's Theatre

Symphony in Two Flats

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1/6
Dates of Creation 1929
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains 18 black and white production photographs of Symphony in Two Flats, which played at the New Theatre, London, in 1929. Novello wrote this play and starred in it alongside Lilian Braithwaite, Benita Hume and Viola Tree. Five of the photographs are Novello portraits.

The photographs range in size from 15.5x20.5cm to 25x30cm. Some are annotated, all are undated.

Personal Names

Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)
Braithwaite, Lilian. ( 1873-1948)
Tree, Viola
Hume, Benita. ( 1893-1951)

I Lived With You

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1/7
Dates of Creation 1932
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains 23 black and white production photographs of I Lived With You, which played at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London, in 1932. Novello wrote this play and starred in it as Prince Felix alongside Ursula Jeans. Six of the photographs are Novello portraits.

The photographs range in size from 19x24cm to 22x31cm. All undated.

Personal Names

Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)
Jeans, Ursula 1903-1973)

Geographical Names

Prince of Wales Theatre, London

Flies in the Sun

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1/8
Dates of Creation 1933
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains 9 black and white production photographs of Flies in the Sun, which played at the Playhouse Theatre, London, in 1933. Novello wrote this play and starred in it alongside Gladys Cooper.

The photographs measure 26x33.5cm. Some are annotated, all are undated.

Personal Names

Cooper, Gladys 1888-1971)
Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)

Geographical Names

Playhouse Theatre, London

Proscenium

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/36/1/1/9
Dates of Creation 1933
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains 19 black and white production photographs of Proscenium, which played at the Globe Theatre, London, in 1933. Novello wrote this play and starred in it opposite Fay Compton and Zena Dare. Two of these photographs are Novello portraits.

The photographs range in size from 19.5x25cm to 28x34cm. Some are annotated, all are undated.

Personal Names

Novello, Ivor. ( 1893-1951)
Compton, Fay 1894-1978)
Dare, Zena

Geographical Names

Globe Theatre, London