I was lucky enough to buy a collection recently which consisted of a big pile of ballet programmes from the 1920s-1950s (including some lovely ones from the “Gran Teatro del Liceo” in Barcelona) and also a collection of books, all with very nice dustwrappers (dust jackets) depicting ballet scenes.
Most turned out to be by Lorna Hill (also three by Jean Estoril, whose real name was Mabel Esther Allan and wrote the “Drina” series of ballet books), a children’s author who lived and worked in Northumberland. It seems she started writing the series of books based around the Sadlers Wells theatre (such as “A Dream of Sadlers Wells” & “No Castanets at the Wells”) in about 1950 when her daughter went to study ballet there. What followed was a series of books for children based around ballet, although she wrote a total of 40 books, not all relating to ballet (another series was Marjorie and Co.).
Her “Wells” series books were beautifully illustrated by Eve MS Guthrie, and I believe this collection may have been associated with her as there are a couple of letters in the collection relating to Eve Guthrie as well as two copies (one a first edition) of her 1945 pictorial book “Pictures from the Ballet”.
The Lorna Hill books (all first editions, I believe, and nine in total) as well as the Eve Guthrie items (including a metal printing plate of ballet dancers) and a signed photo of Lorna Hill are for sale initially as a complete collection. I may split them if a suitable offer is not received, but I would like to keep them together). They are shown in my Reynard Collectables ebay store here.
The ballet programmes (over 100 and including Covent Garden, Ballet Russe, Bolshoi etc) will be listed shortly unless somebody contacts me with an offer. A perfect Christmas present for the ballet nut!