Return to site

Bevis Hillier & Beresford Egan - Part 2

· Bevis Hillier,Beresford Egan,Fine Book Collecting,Halifax,Decorative Arts

When I wrote the first Bevis Hillier & Beresford Egan musing last month, I did not plan on having a Part 2. This changed as I read the Hillier book that prompted the earlier musing.

broken image

The Decorative Arts of the Forties and Fifties: Austerity/Binge; Bevis Hillier; Clarkson N. Potter, Inc./Publisher, New York, 1975. First American edition.

The musing covered the above book and then went on to talk about the Beresford Egan correspondence to his friend Bevis Hillier that is now part of my collection. This book, as such, would not qualify as part of my Beresford Egan collection. This all changed a couple of nights ago as I was reading the book in question, as I came across the following sentence:

“A play by Beresford Egan (better known as an artist), performed at the Watergate Theatre, London, from 21 March until 2 April, 1950, with John Longden in the leading role, was called No Flies on Pegasus.”

The reference to Egan in the text qualifies it as an Egan item.

There are two bibliographies of Beresford Egan.

broken image
broken image
broken image
broken image

Beresford Egan: An Introduction to His Work; by Paul Allen; Scorpion Press, London, 1966.

Beresford Egan; by Adrian Woodhouse; Tartarus Press, (Coverdale, England), 2005.

The Woodhouse book is much more comprehensive and that is the book that I use as the
Beresford Egan “bible”.

Woodhouse covers all of Egan’s activities, including that as a film actor and as the writer of several plays, including No Flies on Pegasus, his third and last play. However, Woodhouse did not include Bevis Hillier’s book in the Bibliography. The Bibliography is broken down into the following classifications:

  • Books & Pamphlets Written (wholly or in part) and Illustrated/Wrappered by Beresford Egan
  • Books & Pamphlets Illustrated by Beresford Egan – U.K. Editions
  • Books & Pamphlets Illustrated by Beresford Egan – U.S. Editions
  • Dust-Wrappers Designed or Decorated by Beresford Egan
  • Books & Booklets about Beresford Egan
  • Theatre Reviews v& Caricatures by Beresford Egan
  • Signed Published Illustrations by Beresford Egan
  • Unsigned Published Illustrations by Beresford Egan 1926-1928
  • Article by Beresford Egan
  • Article about Beresford Egan by C. Bower Alcock

There is no place in the categories above to include mentions of Beresford Egan in books. And, that makes sense. Can you imagine the Bibliography of Hemingway if all mentions were included. But for me, where Egan is much more obscure, any mention is valuable, especially where it provides some context between Egan and the person to whom he corresponded with in such a delightful way.

broken image

Here is a copy of a page of Woodhouse’s Egan bibliography. As you can see, I place check marks against items that I have, plus notations, plus descriptions of items not listed in the bibliography. All in pencil, of course! I have discovered a number of items that should have been mentioned, plus others that followed the publication of this book, plus personal correspondence that would be impossible to mention.

Bevis Hillier’s The Decorative Arts of the Forties and Fifties: Austerity Binge will soon be written into the margins of my Woodhouse “bible”.

The purpose of the various Beresford Egan appearances in my musings is to demonstrate the
Bibliomaniac frenzy of a dedicated and fanatical collector of something. You too?