This collection contains a series of chromolithographs of the Legat brothers' caricature studies of their colleagues and students at the Russian Imperial Ballet, St. Petersburg (c. 1900-05). It includes photographic records of the tours of the Russian provinces made by Nicolas Legat and Nadine Nicolaeva-Legat (1914-23), and later of Nicolas (Nikolai) Legat's ballet studio in London (1929-37) and Nadine Nicolaeva-Legat's vocational ballet boarding school in England (after 1937), featuring prominent ballet dancers of the time. It includes original colour-painted caricatures and pencil drawings by Nicolas Legat, correspondence, legal documents, notebooks, publications and ephemera.
Original hand-painted caricatures by Nicolas Legat include self-portraits, and studies of his pupils Ninette de Valois and Anton Dolin; original pencil drawings depict Arnold Haskell, P.J.S. Richardson and Edwin Evans (c. 1925-35). A large number of chromolithographs of the Legat brothers’ caricatures portray prominent ballet artists associated with the Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg from the late 19th century to early 20th century. They include studies of Agrippina Vaganova, Enrico Cecchetti, Pavel Gerdt, Marie Petipa, Lev Ivanov, Felix Kschessinsky, Mathilde Kschessinska, Serafina Astafieva, and many others; also a photographic print of a caricature of the great teacher, Christian Johansson.
Correspondence in English includes diverse material, such as two unrelated letters: one sent on 22 October 1939 by Josephine Davidson inviting a pupil, Helen (surname unidentified) to dance 'Russian Dances' from Minkus’ Ballet Camargo at a college in Oxford; the second letter is a confirmation of an offer to Mr and Mrs Legat to run the department of dance and the ‘Legat Method’ at a Theatre School in the USA, undated and signed ‘[illegible] Hoffmann’.
Early photographs of Nicolas Legat’s celebrated pupils include images of Nadine Nicolaeva (later Madam Legat), Lubov Egorova, Agrippina Vaganova and Serge Lifar. Photographic albums record the Legat School students, their performances, events and people associated with the School. Photographs show Nicolas and Nadine Legat in various roles throughout their careers; posing with prominent dancers and figures of the 1920s to 1950s, including August (Auguste) Albo and Paul Dukes, and portraits of the Nicolaeva-Legat family.
Assorted documents include miscellaneous items, such as an invoice for piano rental, a certified copy of Count André Chouvalov's (Andrei Shuvalov) death certificate, an article from an unidentified, undated newspaper entitled ‘Mariinsky Theatre’ (in Russian) and a poem about Russian dancers. There are notebooks in Legat’s own hand, containing draft notes (in Russian) for an autobiography.
Publications includes Principles de la danse théâtrale by Paul Raymond, Paris (1925); Tribute to Ballet in poems by John Masefield and pictures by Edward Seaco. Collins, London (1938); Story of the Russian School, by Nicolas Legat, translated with a foreword by Paul Dukes, British-Continental Press Ltd, London: 1932.
There is also a box-set of Win-El-Ware trivet coasters and placemats. Figures featured are ballet dancers of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet including Margot Fonteyn, Beryl Grey, Alicia Markova, Nadia Nerina and Svetlana Beriosova.
This collection also includes materials collected by the Legat brothers’ biographer, John Gregory: both original chromolithographs and photocopied caricatures, sketches and studies created by the Legat brothers, and a draft of a translation of correspondence between August (Auguste) Albo and Nicolas Legat. Some items are copies of well-known caricatures available in print or on commercial websites, while other drawings or sketches are relatively unknown.