Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by eric kingsley, Nov 20, 2019.
I like that MM
Extremely well sorted, MollyMay! Well done!
It's funny how people don't reply to emails. I simply couldn't resist it, maybe I've just go too much to say. Since we haven't heard back from lensculture or the Richard Avedon Foundation I've tried emailing the Pace/MacGill Gallery with the same request about the handwriting on the mount of the photo. The Pace/MacGill slide sequence is here
Looking at the mount of Harlequin it has the number "147" stamped top right. I wonder if this could be an auction number? None of the other slides has a visible number. Maybe Edward's possessions were auctioned at some time after his death, possibly by the person who mounted it, who knew what it actually was and added the handwritten notes?
Archie's Mum mentioned the fact that Avedon bought photos from Diane Arbus. I've checked this out. He bought 2 copies of her boxed set "A box of ten photographs". They're all her work, from 1962 to 1970. You can see them all together, thumbnail size, in the 4th image down, here
It occured to me that my barber's cousin had come to right conclusion about the Harlequin photograph but for the wrong reasons. The curators definitely (wrongly) thought that Edward B Crichton was the photographer and not the subject. This is clear from the way that all the slides have been captioned. The photographer is in Bold and the subject is in normal Italic. The cousin misunderstood the way the captions worked thinking that the bold text was the subject's name, maybe he didn't look at the other slides. This is an example of two wrongs making a right.
I thought I better check with my barber if he'd already unravelled Edward's story so I asked him if he (or his cousin) knew what performing name his great-great-great grandfather worked under. He replied, and I quote, "Haven't got a clue Pal." So that was good.
Have you thought about e-mailing the V & A seeing as they have quite a lot about the circus on their web-site? I e-mailed them once and seem to remember they were very helpful.
It did cross my mind. I'll have a go.
Just to be clear, I have passed on to my barber our tentative conclusions about his great-great-great-grandfather. I think he was a bit overwhelmed by the detail. Maybe it was the cemetery photos...
I agree they are helpful. Thinking about it, I'm not sure what I'd say to them. The museum does have an interesting on-line page on the circus but it is as an institution primarily interested in objects as far as I can see and we don't have an object. It's a fragment of history. It may well be original research but I'm not sure what they'd do with it since it cannot be displayed. How might they assist us here?
I would just send a general enquiry - ask them if they have any background information on Edwin Edwards and if so, does it show any connection to the name Edward Barnes Crichton. They do hold an extensive archive
After all, if you don't ask, you don't get - and they can only say 'no'
OK, I'll ask. It's possible to carry out a basic archive search from that web address. The name Edwin Edwards got 106 hits but none of them related to the clown as far as I can see.
Copyright issues are certainly a bit complicated to put it mildly. I'm not a copyright lawyer but I'd say that the "Harlequin" photo is not copyrighted and is unable to be copyrighted. The original exhibitions of Avedon's personal collection were shown at the Pace/MacGill Gallery and the Fraenkel Gallery. Here's the blurb published by Pace/MacGill in 2006
All the online slide shows of images of Harlequin and other examples from the collection date from these joint exhibitions.
The images were presumably captioned by the curators at that time with 4 pieces of information per image - name of photographer, name of subject, spec.s of photo, owner of copyright. If you look at one of the slide shows, the Pace/MacGill 9-slide show for example
There are two photos in the sequence that are captioned "Unknown Photographer". In both cases no copyright is asserted. The other 7 images all have a clear copyright holder.
Why the difference? I believe that copyright law prevents someone from asserting copyright over someone else's work. Avedon, and the galleries, would know this. Copyright cannot be asserted over the "Unknown Photographer" shots because it cannot be bought or negotiated with the creator. In both cases "the creator" is unknown and dead. Simply owning the photo does not confer copyright. Avendon owned these pictures but where the original photographer was unknown he did not also hold the copyright. But I'm definitely not a copyright lawyer. I'm not about to test this theory but does it sound reasonable?
The V&A liked the enquiry ("intriguing") and will get back to me.
My curiosity got the better of me and I ordered Agnes Crichton's birth certificate from 1864, just to see if her dad is still describing himself as an "Artist". I'll post a thumbnail when it turns up. I came across 2 related newspaper articles on Edwin Edwards which were published 7 days apart. The first is an advert for a new pantomime that Edwin will perform in and the second is a review of this same show after it has taken place. As other posters have noted these seem to be the first mentions of Edwin in the UK papers.
The first article, the advert, is from Bell's Weekly Messenger on Saturday 20th December 1851 for a show at the Royal Olympic Theatre-
"...on Boxing Night, will be produced a Grand Comic Christmas Pantomime, embracing a New Diorama, illustrating the search for Sir John Franklin, with a concluding Tableaux of a perfectly novel description, combining the effects of glass, water and revolving stars, entitled "Red Rufus; or, Harlequin, Fact, Fiction and Fancy." Clown, Mr Edwin Edwards; Harlequin, Mr. Forrest(their first appearance in London); Mr G. Turmer; Columbine, Miss Lees..."
The second article, the review, has already been quoted by AnnB and it comes from The Sun (London) on Saturday 27th December 1851 for the show at the Olympic Theatre. A couple of sentences before the section Ann quoted the review says-
"...Pantaloon, and Mr. Edwin F. Edwards Clown. They all sustained their parts in a way which redounded much to their credit. Mr. Edwin Edwards deserves especial notice; he is inferior to no Clown in modern times, and promises to become one of the first favourites..."
What worries me about this is that Edwin Edwards is called Edwin F Edwards. This is a new development. The "F" makes him sound more like a real individual rather than a stage name. I'll see if there are any obvious records for Edwin F Edwards.
This will probably confuse matters or may just be nothing but artuk.org is displaying an etching on paper of the Harlequin Inn Lincoln drawn in 1872 by artist Edwin Edwards 1823-1879.
Sorry I can’t put up the link but a simple search of Harlequin Inn and Edwin Edwards will bring it up.
As I said maybe a red herring but....
What a great drawing. The street name "Steep Hill" seems right. I think that's this artist
who seems to be quite well identified. Having looked at clown names I'm less worried now. There seems to be a tradition for clowns to have performing names. Joseph Grimaldi, the most famous clown, was called whatever the character was called, "Clown" most often (from the Harlequinade). His characters also became known as "Joey" from his forename. Then there was "Coco". Maybe Edward was moving towards the kind of stage name that "real" actors used. Edwin F Edwards. Why not?
The Theatre & Performance Dept at the V&A say they may take up to 21 working days from 04/12/2019 to reply to my enquiry. That takes us to 02/01/2020. Ah well. I'll report back on "Father's Occupation" from Agnes Crichton's birth certificate on 12/12/2019 or thereabouts.
Separate names with a comma.