McBEAN, Angus two.

Signed wedding photograph of T.S. and Valerie Eliot two


[London] n.p.. 1957 and 1954-56.

Black and white bromide print (212x163mm), mounted on cream card (296x210mm). Signed in pencil by Angus McBean and inscribed by Eliot "for Charles Reilly with affection from Tom and Valerie". Valerie has signed in her hand. A small mark to the lower right corner of the mount and a crease to the top right corner but otherwise in very good condition. On the verso is McBean's copyright stamp. Tom and Valerie are gazing at each other with complete affection. It is perhaps less striking than portrait which they gave to Giroux but it is, without doubt a sweeter picture. McBean, as explained, in our note on this other photograph, had been commissioned to take the Eliots's wedding photographs on their return from honeymoon.
The letters are dated 20th August 1954 and 11th January 1956 and are on Faber and Faber letter heading. The card is postmarked 30th December 1955. In the first letter, Eliot mentions that he is "practically restored to health" save for a "slight touch of arthritis". He thanks Reilly for lighting a candle for him in St Patrick's Cathedral. He hopes to see Reilly in 1955 and go for a drive: "I dare say you will have a still bigger Ford by that time". The postcard shows a gateway to a castle in Nyon in Switzerland but is really a thank you note for a supply of cigars sent by Reilly: "Smoked the first on Christmas Day, the second on the Feast of S Thos of Canterbury (December 29th) and shall smoke the third on the Circumcision (1st January). They're superb". In a postscript, Eliot mentions that R.G (Bob Giroux) "seems unable now to write of even dictate a letter". The letter of 11th January continues these themes: "I am writing to ask whether Bob is all right". Eliot had sent Giroux a collection of essays for publication but had heard nothing. Eliot expresses concern for Giroux and asks for any news. He concludes the letter, "I go on enjoying your cigars at the rate of one or two a week". Bob Giroux was Eliot's American publisher and Charles Reilly was one of Giroux's oldest friends. The three of them spent much time together in America and England and clearly Giroux was fine as Eliot went to stay with him in New York in the summer of 1956. And there is a wonderful collection of photographs from a 1958 American tour that Tom and Valerie made in the company of Giroux and Reilly (see:
Given how close they all were, it is particularly good to be able to offer the McBean wedding photographs given to Reilly and Giroux and signed by Tom and Valerie.

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