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Building A Beresford Egan Collection - The Spice

· Fine Book Collecting,Beresford Egan,Geraldine Page,Katharine Hepburn,Burt Lancaster

Egan’s “F” items are the theatre reviews and caricatures he did for Courier Magazine 1956-1959. I also mentioned that I have not started to accumulate those magazines. However, I did acquire a sample, original drawing of one of his caricatures. On the back of the board, Egan noted – The Rainmaker; “Courier” Sept. 1956. The drawing is of American actress Geraldine Page and British actor Michael Goodliffe. Page was starring in the Broadway production of The Rainmaker which was later made into a film starring Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn.

Egan was also an actor and he starred in several films in the 1940’s. One of his best friends an actor by the name of Derek Tansley, who appeared in many more films including the Hammer film The Crimson Cult with Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee; The Servant with Dirk Bogarde and Sarah Miles; and The Crimson Pirate with Burt Lancaster. Egan was a great letter writer and he corresponded diligently and, as you can see from the attached photos, his penmanship was spectacular. Tansley accumulated his letters and cards from Egan in a large, white envelope, on which Tansley wrote “Cards and correspondence from Beresford Egan, artist extraordinaire”. I acquired this treasure trove that contained Egan illustrated cards and items containing original drawings. Included were the 5 Storicards, 1960, that comprised the ninth, and last, of the “A” items, i.e. works written and illustrated by Egan. The attached photos shows the cover of one of the Storicards and one of Egan’s full page letters, wherein Egan addresses Tansley as “Dear Giant” and signs it “Tiny Tim”. This is one of the correspondence collections that I have been able to acquire.

Looking out for correspondence from the author/illustrator you collect is a great way to spice up
your collection. There are dealers who specialize in such material.

The eighth of the “A” items was a 1959 pamphlet, mostly written by Egan, called “Floris” and it is a history of a well known bakery in London that was privileged to be able to include the Royal Family’s crest with “appointment to H. M. Queen Elizabeth II – bakers”. My collection includes:

  • The original artwork for all 10 illustrations contained in the pamphlet;
  • The printer’s mock up; and
  • Egan’s copy of the finished product in which he wrote “All the literary bits, marked with a red cross, are mine”

It is much easier now to find unique items, thanks to the global reach of the internet. Use Google, Abebooks, e-Bay, etc. Put in your collecting interest and “the search is on!” These items don’t have to be expensive, and often they are esoteric and the real challenge, and fun, is unearthing them.

Good luck with your collecting interests and building your library.

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