Belfast Telegraph

Bernard Shaw archive to go online

Thousands of photographs from a collection belonging to playwright George Bernard Shaw are to be made available to the public online, the National Trust has said.

The photographs include pictures of film stars such as Vivien Leigh, writers HG Wells and JM Barrie, and leading political and social figures of Shaw's time including MP Lady Nancy Astor.

Shaw, who died 60 years ago, was a keen photographer and about 70% of the photographs in the collection were taken by the Irish playwright and critic, while others feature him - including press shots and pictures taken on movie sets.

The National Trust said the largely unseen collection of around 20,000 photographic objects, including prints, negatives and albums, shed light on Shaw's life and times.

The Trust, which owns much of the archive, is working with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which Shaw was involved in founding, to conserve, catalogue and put the pictures online.

Shaw, whose works include Man And Superman and Pygmalion, left his home, now known as Shaw's Corner, in Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire, to the National Trust on his death.

The collection of photographs has been housed within the archives division at LSE since 1979, but funding has only become available recently for the project which will allow the public to see the pictures.

Many are in a fragile condition and conservation work has been needed to prevent them deteriorating further.

Several hundred images are already online, with plans for around two-thirds of the collection to be available for the public to see by the time the project is completed in summer 2011.

Fiona Hall, National Trust curator for the East of England, said: "For me the most interesting aspect revealed in the collection is the contrast between 'GBS' the public figure and 'Bernard Shaw' the private man. There are many portraits of Shaw himself, both self-portraits and those taken by others."

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