Natasha Kroll Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive documents Kroll"s work as a display and production designer. Material relating to Simpsons includes photographs of window and interior displays, as well as printed material such as menus and wrapping paper. There is also material documenting Kroll"s involvement in the design of the interior of the restaurant "Sugar and Spice", which opened in Dunstable in 1966, and was owned by J Lyons & Co.

Kroll kept files for many of the film and television productions on which she worked, usually named by production and containing a range of material, including scripts and production papers, drawings and source material, and production photographs.

There are also small quantities of professional correspondence, personal and domestic papers, and material relating to her book "Window Display" and her children"s book, "The Princess and the Pea".

Administrative / Biographical History

Natasha Kroll was born in Moscow on 20 May 1914, and her family moved to Germany in 1922. Kroll attended the Reimann School in Berlin, where she specialised in display design. When the school moved to London in 1936, Kroll was appointed an assistant teacher. Early window display commissions included Rowntree"s department stores in Scarborough and York, but she was soon to win a prestigious post as display manager for Simpson (Piccadilly) Ltd. Simpsons had moved into their striking new premises, designed by Joseph Emberton, in 1935. Kroll"s display philosophy, rooted in European modernism, complemented the building and the ethos of the company chairmen at this time. Both Ashley Havinden and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy had received window display commissions and Kroll sought to extend this pioneering approach.

In 1956, Natsha Kroll joined the BBC and made a great impact in production design. As a member of Richard Levin"s design department, she had a particular ability to devise innovative settings for talks and factual programmes, which also had the effect of exposing viewers to contemporary design. Of particular note is the studio design she devised for Huw Weldon"s arts programme 'Monitor'. In 1966 Kroll was elected to the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry and it was in this year that she left the BBC to work freelance, specialising in period dramas. She went on to gain several feature film credits as production designer including 'Macbeth' (1970), Ken Russell"s 'The Music Lovers' (1971), 'The Hireling' (1973), 'Age of Innocence' (1977), and as producer and production designer 'Absolution' (1979, released 1988) which starred Richard Burton.

Natasha Kroll lived in Putney. She died on 2 April 2004.

Arrangement

The archive comprises the following series:

NKR/1 Personal and professional papers general

NKR/2 Film and television production files

NKR/3 Other projects, including retail projects and publications

NKR/4 Photographs

NKR/5 Presscuttings

NKR/6 Miscellaneous

Conditions Governing Access

Researchers wishing to consult the collection should make an appointment. Telephone 44 (0)1273 643217 or email designarchives@brighton.ac.uk

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the Design Archives by the Kroll family in 2006.

Archivist's Note

Collection level record created by Sue Breakell, February 2010.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission must be sought to publish any material from the collection. Email designarchives@brighton.ac.uk

Related Material

Photographs of Kroll's work at Simpson (Piccadilly) Ltd. can be found in the Design Council Archive, also held at the Design Archives.

Material relating to the premises of Simpson (Piccadilly) Ltd can be found in the papers of Joseph Emberton, architect, also held at the Design Archives.

Bibliography

Kroll, Natasha 'Window Display' London: Studio Publications, 1954

Suga, Yasuko 'Modernism, Commercialism and Display Design in Britain: the Reimann School and Studios of Industrial and Commercial Art' Journal of Design History, vol. 19, no.2, pp. 137-154