The Arnold Haskell Collection

Scope and Content

A series of early to mid-19th century coloured lithographs depicting Marie Taglioni in La Sylphide, La Naïade, La Napolitaine, La Gitana and Zéphire et Flore; Fanny Cerrito in La Gitana, La Sylphide and La Reine de la danse; Carlotta Grisi in La Péri; Adeline Plunkett in La Péri; Adèle Dumilâtre and Henri Desplaces in Le Corsaire, and Adèle Dumilâtre and Lucien Petipa in The Marble Maiden [ La Fille de marbre].

Early 19th century coloured lithographs depicting a number of theatre buildings, including His Majesty’s Theatre Auditorium (1809), Theatre Royal Covent Garden (1808 and 1810) and Sadler’s Wells Theatre (1809).

A series of photographs featuring the repertoire and Principal dancers of the Diaghilev Ballets Russes:

Photographic studio portraits by Emil Hoppé (1912): subjects include Sophie Fedorova in Cleopatra and Prince Igor; Adolphe Bolm in Prince Igor and Le Carnaval; Tamara Karsavina in The Firebird, and Karsavina with Bolm in Le Pavillon d'armide and Thamar.

Photographs taken in performance and in the studio by Lenare (c.1924-26): subjects include Serge Lifar and Felia Dubrovska in La Pastorale; Serge Lifar and Alice Nikitina in La Chatte; Serge Lifar in Romeo and Juliet; Serge Lifar and Lydia Sokolova in Barabau; Serge Lifar and Alexandra Danilova in La Boutique fantasque; Serge Lifar in Zéphyr et Flore; Alice Nikitina and Léon Woizikowski in Les Biches.

Photographs taken in performance and in the studio by Sasha (c.1924-28): subjects include Serge Lifar and Tamara Grigorieva in The Triumph of Neptune; Alexandra Danilova and Léon Woizikowski in The Gods Go A-Begging; Serge Lifar and Alice Nikitina in Apollon Musagète, Serge Lifar in Les Matelots.

A photographic print by Bassano of Lydia Lopokova (autographed by Lopokova, dated 1919) and nine photographic prints of studio portraits by Dorothy Wilding featuring Lydia Lopokova in various roles (1920-29).

Other photographs include various dancers by unattributed photographers: subjects include Serge Lifar in Night Ballet (autographed by Lifar, dated 1930); Paul Haakon of the Pavlova Company (autographed by Haakon, dated 1931); a group photograph of Tamara Toumanova, Irina Baronova, Tatiana Riabouchinka, and Alexandra Danilova; David Lichine in L'Apres midi d'un faune (autographed by Lichine, dated 1937); Tamara Tourmanova in Swan Lake (undated); Serge Lifar with Yvette Chauviré at the Champs-Élysées Theatre (1948); Léonide Massine as Mercury in Mercury (undated).

Some later photographs (late 1960s) include Kirov Ballet dancers: Yuri Zhdanov, Irena Kolpakova, Natalia Makarova, and Yuri Soloviev. They include the works Giselle,Romeo and Juliet and Chopiniana (these photographs have Russian labels). Also Galina Ulanova and Nicolai Fadeyechev in a Bolshoi Ballet production of Giselle, Act I (undated).

Photograph album of the Ballets Russes du Colonel W. de Basil World Tour 1936-37; contains 215 photographs taken by Haskell and others on board the S.S. Moldavia: upon leaving Marseilles, visiting Port Sudan, Port Said and the Suez Canal, Bombay, Colombo, Freemantle and Sydney Harbour. Photographs are labelled variously, for example: ‘V. Blinova and V. Froman rehearsing on board’; ‘Mira Dimina Parker’; ‘Sonia Woisikowska (foreground), Irina Vassilieva, Irina Bondereva'; ‘Hettie Palmer, [Doctor] Mitchell’; ‘Colonel de Basil and Arnold Haskell smoking at the Theatre Royal’. The collections also includes the glass negatives used to illustrate Haskell’s subsequent book of the tour, entitled Dancing Around the World (1937).

36 photographs, including performances and informal snapshots, recording The Original Ballets Russes Australian Tour 1939-40: some labels, for example, 'The Colonel [de Basil] & the Maître', Madame Lubov Tchernicheva in Thamar, 'M. et Madame Serge Grigorieff [...] on holiday'. Other named subjects include Nina Verchinina, Anna Volkova, Gala Razoumova, Yurek Lazovsky, Tamara Grigorieva, Paul Petroff [Petrov], Tania Leskova, Tania Stepanova, Nina Popova, and Tamara Toumanova (as the Princess Aurora).

Two albums of autographs: the first album (1947-55) contains autographs and greetings (some in Russian); the second was presented to Haskell by staff and students of The Royal Ballet School on the occasion of his retirement (1964) and contains signatures of dancers, students, staff and individuals associated with The Royal Ballet School. This small album of autographs was a gift of Vivienne Haskell to The Royal Ballet School Archives (13th November 1986).

One notebook of handwritten notes by Arnold Haskell for chapter three of his autobiography, In His True Centre (published London, 1951).

Material kept separately from this collection and incorporated into The Royal Ballet School reference collections includes:

Books housed in the Arnold Haskell Dance Library, White Lodge; these largely focus on ballet history and the developing ballet scene in Britain and abroad from the late 1920s to the early 1970s. The books are mostly identified as Haskell’s by an ‘EX LIBRIS Arnold Haskell’ label pasted inside the front covers, and some are inscribed to him by their authors; there are also signed and unsigned copies of Arnold Haskell’s published works in the collection. There is a complete set of The Ballet Annual (1947-63) of which Haskell was the Editor.

Administrative / Biographical History

Haskell was a Cambridge graduate who became a devotee of the Diaghilev Ballets Russes (1909-29), and of the several Ballets Russes companies which followed in its wake. After Diaghilev’s death in 1929, Haskell became an active dance facilitator, co-founding the Camargo Ballet Society in 1930, with P.J.S. Richardson, the Editor of the Dancing Times. Haskell was a prolific writer on ballet, and was a notable dance historian and critic. He was the dance critic for the Daily Telegraph from 1935, and the editor of The Ballet Annual(1947-63). He wrote many highly accessible yet erudite books on ballet, including Balletomania (London 1934), Diaghileff[Diaghilev] (London 1935) and Balletomane at Large (London 1972).

Arnold Haskell became a passionate advocate of those trying to establish a British national School and Company. As early as 1934, Lilian Baylis and Ninette de Valois had held a meeting with Haskell at which they first discussed the idea of combining dance training with academic lessons for the pupils of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School (later The Royal Ballet School). Haskell eventually became the first appointed Director of the School (1947-64), and oversaw the introduction of an academic timetable. He was a Governor of The Royal Ballet from 1956. He also acted as Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Dancing (now the Royal Academy of Dance) and as an adviser on ballet to the British Council. He was awarded the Legion of Honour (1951) and made a C.B.E. in 1954. Arnold Haskell was married to Vivienne, a sister of the great British ballerina, Alicia Markova.

Access Information

This collection is open for consultation and can be viewed by appointment only. Please contact White Lodge Museum via our website at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge Museum

Acquisition Information

Lithographs, photographs, albums, notes and books: gift of Arnold Haskell during his lifetime, and of his widow, Vivienne Haskell, dates not recorded (with the exception of a small album of autographs, which Mrs Haskell donated on 13 November 1986).