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Ephemera Events & Exhibitions

  • Ephemera Society Fair 2017

  • Sunday 3 December
  • Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury
  • Coram Street
  • London WC1N 1HT
  • United Kingdom
  • All are welcome · Entry £3 · 11am - 4pm
  • Members from 10am with membership cards



Life on the London Stage

Until 6 December 2017

Print of grimaldi

The curtain has lifted on this new exhibition from the London Metropolitan Archives which uncovers the lives of performers on the London stage, from the days of Elizabethan theatre to the 20th century.

Original records that document the successes of some of London’s most celebrated performers will appear alongside workhouse records, court registers and other sources. From Shakespeare’s forgotten brother to Charlie Chaplin and the stars of Music Hall, Life on the London Stage will delve into our and present a fascinating record of the lives of London’s entertainers.

Graham Packham, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said: "Some surprising finds and extraordinary stories have come to light during the LMA’s research for Life On The London Stage, including how Edmund Shakespeare, of whom many of us know nothing, followed his older brother to London to work as an actor. Visitors will also learn about the houses owned by Nell Gwyn, one of London’s greatest rags-to-riches stories; how music hall star, Marie Lloyd, alarmed the authorities with her routines; and Kenneth Williams’ advice about how he dealt with school bullies."

  • London Metropolitan Archives
  • 40 Northampton Road
  • Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB
  • UK
  • More details
  • Image: Detail from ticket for Mr Grimaldi's Night, Sadlers Wells, 1814


World War Ireland

Until 2018

In summer 1914 a war broke out in Europe that would change the world forever. In Ireland, many supported the cause and joined up or travelled to serve in nursing and auxiliary services. Others objected to the war on moral, social or political grounds. By the time the conflict ended in 1918, its impact had been felt through the length and breadth of the country.

Image of recruitment poster

World War Ireland is a free exhibition at the National Library of Ireland(NLI) that focuses on the unique aspects of the Irish WWI experience and draws on the NLI's collections of letters, diaries, recruiting posters, newspaper reports, cartoons, handbills and leaflets dating from 1914-1918. With original artefacts, first hand personal accounts and eyewitness testimony, World War Ireland brings visitors dramatically inside the lives of those who experienced WWI.


All Creatures Great & Small

Until 16 September 2017

Sometimes humorous, sometimes curious, fans decorated with animal subjects occupy The Fan Museum’s elegant Georgian interiors during the summer months of 2017. Throughout history fan painters have seen fit to exploit mankind’s innate love of animals, decorating fans with all manner of beasts. This display presents a menagerie of fans dating from the 1700s onward.

Image of fan
'Forme ballon' fan painted with a cat, signed A, Thomasse and Duvelleroy. (French, c. 1907)

Always reflecting time and place, the display includes an early eighteenth century Dutch fan delicately painted with pheasants, parrots and turkeys (at this time considered exotic, even collectable creatures).

By the beginning of the Twentieth Century fans painted with animal subjects proliferate and artists specialising in animal subjects carved out quite a niche. Perhaps the most celebrated animalier fan painter of this period is Adolph Thomasse (1850-1930), whose distinctive, anthropomorphic cats and dogs continue to enchant fan enthusiasts and collectors to this day.

  • The Fan Museum
  • 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich
  • London SE10 8ER
  • UK
  • More details


The Land without Music: Satirizing Song in Eighteenth-Century England

Until 29 September 2017

Music pervaded public and private spaces in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century England; yet, in 1904, German critic Oscar Adolf Hermann Schmitz, heightening long-standing aspersions, dismissed England as a “land without music.” This unflattering epithet pointed to England’s meager contributions to the western musical canon during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—no English Gluck, Mozart, or Verdi; no English operatic or symphonic tradition that could rival those that flourished on the continent.

Image: detail from print

The English, critics like Schmitz suggested, were importers rather than producers—tasteless consumers and dilettantes rather than discerning, proficient practitioners. This view did not originate with continental nationalists; in the eighteenth century the English often presented themselves as uniquely unmusical in print and in visual satire.

At once self-effacing and boastful, this representation asserted a national character too sensible, too chaste, too sober to permit the excesses of musical genius. Bringing together satirical prints and documents pertaining to English music makers and listeners, this exhibition explores English attitudes toward music as lascivious, feminine, foreign, frivolous, and distinctly un-English.

Image: detail from copy after James Gillray, A Little Music, or, The Delights of Harmony, 1818.
Copyright © Yale University

  • Lewis Walpole Library, Yale Univeersity
  • 154 Main Street Farmington
  • Connecticut 06032
  • USA
  • More details


L'Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters

Until 7 January 2018

This exhibition features approximately 50 posters by the five grand masters of the medium: Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Alphonse Mucha.

Image: detail from poster

The posters date from 1875 to 1910, the exuberant era in France known as the Belle Époque. These pioneering artists reigned in Paris during this period of artistic proliferation, defining a never-before-seen, and never forgotten, art form.

Drawn from the Driehaus Collection of Fine and Decorative Arts, the posters on view feature such iconic images as Steinlen’s Le Chat Noir and Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge: La Goulue. Each of the five artists will be featured in one of the period galleries in the Museum, allowing guests to explore the artists’ individual style and compare them with their contemporaries.

  • The Richard H. Driehaus Museum
  • 40 East Erie Street
  • Chicago, Illinois 60611
  • USA
  • More details


Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths

Until 29 August 2017

Image: detail from poster

As part of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution this major exhibition, Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths, will shine new light on the unprecedented and world-changing events of the period, focusing on the experiences of ordinary Russians living through extraordinary times.

The exhibition begins in the reign of the last Tsar and explore the growth of revolutionary movements, which brought about the transformation of Russia’s traditional monarchy into the world’s first Communist state as well as colossal social and political change. Key figures such as Tsar Nicholas II and revolutionary leaders including Vladimir Lenin will be examined along with the political events of the period.

The exhibition tells the incredible story of the Revolution through posters, letters, photographs, banners, weapons, items of uniform, recordings and film: from a luxury souvenir album of the Tsar’s coronation to propaganda wallpaper hand-painted by women factory workers, this exhibition will unite the personal and the political, bringing to life the hope, the tragedy, and the myths at the heart of this seismic Revolution.

  • The British Library
  • 96 Euston Road
  • London NW1 2DB
  • UK
  • More details


Posters and Patriotism: Selling WWI in New York

Until 9 October 2017

Image: detail from poster

When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, New York City's artists and illustrators were enlisted in the war effort. Many of them worked for the federal government’s new Division of Pictorial Publicity.

Posters and Patriotism: Selling World War I in New York examines the outpouring of posters, flyers, magazine art, sheet music covers, and other mass-produced images created by these New Yorkers to stir the American public to wartime loyalty, duty, and sacrifice.

From the outbreak of the European conflict in 1914, however, New York had also been a city at war with itself—a place where debates about ethnic and racial loyalty, pacifism, the right to side with France, Belgium, and England or Germany, and the very meaning of patriotism spawned impassioned art for a mass audience.

In rediscovering a wartime dialogue between images of conformity and dissent, Posters and Patriotism showcases over 60 examples from the World War I poster collection donated to the Museum by railroad executive and financier John W. Campbell (1880-1957) in 1943, most being exhibited for the first time, as well as the work of defiant artists in such colorful publications as The Masses, The Fatherland, and Mother Earth.

Image: detail from poster by James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960), I Want You for U.S. Army, c. 1917 Museum of the City of New York, gift of Mr. John W. Campbell

  • Museum of the City of New York
  • 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St
  • 10029 New York, New York
  • USA
  • More details


Glorious Years: French Calendars from Louis XIV to the Revolution

Until 29 October 2017, Wed-Sun, Waddesdon Manor

A celebration of the power of the printed image before photography, Glorious Years is an exhibition of 26 rare French calendars, never before seen on public display. This exhibition charts the evolution of these calendars (originally named ‘almanacs’) from their golden period under Louis XIV, through to the Revolution, when time itself was re-invented.

Image la Chaussée, Almanac
la Chaussée, Almanac. Titled The august alliance of the houses of Bourbon and Austria, 1771;
etching and engraving; 717 x 537mm; © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Published in Paris in the 17th and 18th centuries, these striking prints featured major events, from royal weddings and births to victorious battles and peace treaties. At a time when the printed image was the most effective communicator, calendars were designed to both educate and delight. Glorious Years will examine how and why these prints were made and their role in propaganda, revealing much about the social, political and artistic world of the Old Regime.

As well as large single-sheet printed calendars, a number of bound pocketbook almanacs will also be on display. These small volumes were popular in the late 18th century, varying hugely in content. Ranging from official directories, listing members of the royal households, schedules for the postal service and carriage travel; to collections of songs, poems and illustrations. Some even included erasable paper for notetaking and recording gambling-related gains and losses. Not unlike modern-day smart phones, these conveniently sized pocketbooks were portable and perfectly suited to inform, distract and amuse.

Image Almanac: Louis XV
Almanac: Louis XV, the Queen, the Dauphin surrounded by courtiers and other nations
with a family tree of French kings, 1734, © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Despite their popularity, these calendars have not survived in great numbers, making Waddesdon’s collection unique in the UK. Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898) was fascinated by social history and collected these calendars alongside other printed ephemera, such as trade cards and lottery tickets. The calendars on display have been conserved, remounted and digitised. They will be available to browse on the website.

  • Waddesdon Manor
  • Aylesbury
  • Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JH
  • UK
  • More details


Victoria Revealed

Until 17 February 2018

Image of Queen Victoria and children

This exhibition explores the many, often surprising, aspects of Queen Victoria’s character: devoted wife, dedicated mother, devastated widow and powerful stateswoman.

Follow Victoria’s story from the room in which she spent her first moments as queen. Trace her journey from young girl to queen enthralled with a new husband, to grieving matriarch and ruler of a vast empire.

Included in the exhibition are iconic, impressive, beautiful and often deeply personal objects, from Victoria’s simple white silk wedding gown, to the dolls she made, dressed and named as a little girl.

Victoria and the people who surrounded her tell this story: excerpts from her journals, letters and reports from contemporary commentators give insight into the extraordinary life of the woman whose name defined an age.



Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life