Sheila's Pics

Sheila Corr has joined the Bridgeman research team after an illustrious career at History Today, where she got to know our archive very well. Her favourite images and clips revealed.

 

 

1. What is your role at Bridgeman?

I’ve been a part-time cataloguer for a month now, captioning and key-wording new material into the library, but I’ve been very familiar with Bridgeman for over forty years as a client, pretty much from when it started, the last fifteen as Picture Editor at History Today, working closely with Jenny Page.
 

2. What do you love most about the job? 

I love to get to grips with the background of a picture and to identify in some detail what’s being illustrated and, though I can draw on an embarrassing number of years’ experience searching for images myself, there’s always more to learn.  Full accurate captioning is key, especially these days when anyone can search and, unlike a decent picture researcher, will often just believe whatever information is given without question. Scary!

 

3. What misconceptions do clients most commonly have about the archive?

Bridgeman has always been a surprise and delight to me in the sheer range of its content – the scope of time and place covering opposing points of view is astonishing, making it an essential source for any publication needing variety, even of pretty obscure subjects.  As so many museums and archives are represented it’s always worth checking Bridgeman before going directly to any of them.  My selection reflects a personal experience as a long-term user.

 

Sheila Corr, Cataloguer
Sheila Corr, Cataloguer

 

Sheila Corr favourite images and clips in the archive are...

 

View of Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire, UK / John Bethell / Bridgeman Images
View of Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire, UK / John Bethell / Bridgeman Images

 

 

1. View of Whitby Abbey

 

I first used John Bethell’s photographs in the seventies when he started his own library.  They’re distinctive, not only for the unusual transparency format he produced, but for the extraordinary balance he seems to achieve in every composition.

This photograph of Whitby Abbey is a perfect example.

 

2. La Belle Dame Sans Merci

 

Back in the eighties when picture research was conducted by post and phone, my first freelance job was illustrating a children’s book on English Literature and I found this beautiful painting ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ by John Waterhouse reproduced in black and white, credited to Hessisches Museum, Darnstadt.

I was keen to use it alongside Keats’ poem but there really wasn’t time to approach Darnstadt directly so was delighted when I called Bridgeman on the offchance to hear they had the image.

 

 

La Belle Dame Sans Merci, 1893, John William Waterhouse, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany / Bridgeman Images
La Belle Dame Sans Merci, 1893, John William Waterhouse, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Pound Field, Cookham, 1935, Stanley Spencer, Southampton City Art Gallery, Hampshire, UK / Bridgeman Images
Pound Field, Cookham, 1935, Stanley Spencer, Southampton City Art Gallery, Hampshire, UK / Bridgeman Images

 

 

3. Pound Field, Cookham

 

Stanley Spencer’s wonderful ‘Pound Field, Cookham’ was ideal to use as a double page opener in Joanna Trollope’s book ‘The Country Habit’ but overprinting wasn’t allowed, so sadly we had to use something else. 

Spencer’s interest in the Bible is well known and my father, who was a clergyman and occasional preacher at Cookham, remembered him sitting forward on the edge of his pew listening attentively to every word of the sermon, preparing to challenge it later.

 

 

4. Martyrdom of Campion

 

This illustration is from ‘Martyrdom of Campion’ by Richard Verstegan, published in 1582, a rare book owned by Stonyhurst College showing persecution of English Catholic women for possessing rosary beads - religious oppression of the time being better represented from the Protestant viewpoint. 

My much missed pal Tom Graves was very excited about going along to the school with Harriet Bridgeman and Adrian Gibbs to find material suitable for the library.

 

English Catholic women arrested for possessing rosary beads, from 'Martyrology of Campion' by Richard Verstegan, 1582, By permission of the Governors of Stonyhurst College / Bridgeman Images
English Catholic women arrested for possessing rosary beads, from 'Martyrology of Campion' by Richard Verstegan, 1582, By permission of the Governors of Stonyhurst College / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Library window depicting foreigners, Siamese School, Wat Sakhet, Bangkok, Thailand / Photo © Luca Tettoni / Bridgeman Images
Library window depicting foreigners, Siamese School, Wat Sakhet, Bangkok, Thailand / Photo © Luca Tettoni / Bridgeman Images

 

 

5. Siamese library window from Ayutthaya

 

A fabulous 17th century Siamese lacquered library window from Ayutthaya, the Thai capital before Bangkok, showing European traders. 

There are myriad representations of how the West saw other peoples in earlier times, but this is unusual for giving us a glimpse into how foreign merchants and their strange clothes were seen by the locals.

6. Fashions for Victory

 

For more recent history, websites can now of course use footage. Australia introduced clothing restrictions during the war, similar to Utility here. This entertaining information film outlines the rules women had to follow to achieve the ‘victory line’ with a prescribed number of buttons, pockets, embroidery and so on.

Not only would ‘skilful hands’ be made available for the war effort but huge amounts of fabric would be saved - this is probably the only time you’ll hear the expression ‘permissable shirring’.

 

Fashions for Victory - Australian WWII public information film about acceptable ration clothing for women during wartime / Australian War Memorial / Bridgeman Footage
Fashions for Victory - Australian WWII public information film about acceptable ration clothing for women during wartime / Australian War Memorial / Bridgeman Footage

 

 

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