A widow in Warwickshire has uncovered an unprecedented archive of Royal Shakespeare Company photographs, many of which have never been published.
Margaret Goode’s husband, Gordon, worked as a freelance photographer from a studio in Ely Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, in the 1950s and 1960s.
Gordon Goode died in 2008 and his widow has spent over a year creating an archive from the thousands of negatives, prints, letters and notes left in their Warwickshire home.
Margaret told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire that creating the archive had helped her: “It was my way of dealing with grief. They were kept in sealed envelopes and I’d never opened them before.”
Going through her late husband’s work diaries and negatives, she said: “You know, you’re discovering something about someone close to you. It’s extraordinary.”
After an impromptu commission in 1958, Gordon became a regular official photographer for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, photographing actors on and off the stage.
Margaret recalls: “He talked about his friendship with Peter Hall and Judi Dench and it was interesting when he went to actors’ homes to photograph them, like Paul Scofield, Edith Evans and Peggy Ashcroft.”
Later credited as a Photographic Advisor at the RSC, Gordon photographed over 50 plays in Stratford between 1958 and 1968, including rehearsals, set and costume designs, actors and directors.
Some of the rising stars pictured in the collection are Patrick Stewart, Glenda Jackson, Ben Kingsley, David Warner, Ian Holm, Helen Mirren and Judi Dench.
Members of The Royal Shakespeare Company have been to see the collection and recognise its importance, but in the current economic climate they are not in a position to purchase them.
Margaret has now resolved to sell the Gordon Goode RSC archive by auction. The date for this has not yet been set but we will have news here when it is available.
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