The Lilian Scott Wood Collection

Scope and Content

This collection includes souvenir programmes, leaflets, tickets and announcements of the Anna Pavlova Company performances in England (1913 - December 1930) and, following Pavlova’s death, of memorial performances (1931-36). It contains correspondence between Lilian Scott Wood and a number of recipients including Pavlova, Victor Dandré, Nathan Goldberger (Counselor at Law in New York, U.S.A.) and Lionel Powell (Concert Agent); photographic prints of Pavlova performing, at leisure and in the studio; books and assorted objects associated with Pavlova; also some material associated with Margot Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois, Anna Pruzina, and the Diaghilev Ballets Russes.

A box of assorted Anna Pavlova programmes includes those for: the Pavlova season at the London Opera House, Kingsway (undated); a London season promoted by Star Attractions (undated); the Palace Theatre (July 1913); the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (1920); the Queen's Hall (1921); the Royal Opera House (1923, 1924 and 1925); the Streatham Hill Theatre (1929 and 1930); the Golders Green Hippodrome (1929 and 1930); the Prince of Wales Theatre, London (1930). It also includes programmes for memorial performances by the Anna Pavlova Company; for a gala performance launching the film The Immortal Swan (1936), and for performances associated with the Madame Pavlova Memorial Fund.

It includes souvenir programmes for: a gala performance of Madame Karina, the Danish Prima Ballerina, given at the Victoria Hall, Ealing (11 May 1914); a souvenir programme for the Diaghilev Ballets Russes production of The Sleeping Princess at the Alhambra Theatre (1921-1922); the Season of Russian Opera and Ballet at the Lyceum Theatre (1931); a benevolent performance featuring classical music in aid of the Musicians' Benevolent Fund at the Royal Albert Hall (12 January 1933) and Margot Fonteyn in an evening of ballet with New London Ballet (15 February 1976).

Also a letter from Ninette de Valois to Mlle Anna Pruzina regarding ballet lessons for the Sadler's Wells Ballet Company, and advertising cards for The Russian School of Dancing of Mons Laurent Novikoff and Mlle Anna Pruzina. A photograph of Margot Fonteyn by David Lane, inscribed by Fonteyn’s mother, Mrs Hookham: “Margot remembering Miss Pruzina’s words and standing in the air” (1938).

Includes articles, news cuttings and illustrations (1913-31) featuring news about Pavlova and her Company.

An illustrated auction catalogue of the contents of Ivy House (22 June 1931) and a set of eight photographs of the Anna Pavlova exhibition held at the Museum of London (1956), depicting some of the displayed objects and cases.

Also a 23-page, handwritten manuscript, in an unidentified hand, with the heading Anna Pavlova, Pages from my Life, which appears to be a short autobiographical reminiscence by Pavlova (undated).

Objects include three ballet shoes of uncertain provenance, which may have been Pavlova’s. Also a framed white feather, provenance unknown, which may be from Pavlova’s Dying Swan costume.

Two boxes of photographs: of Pavlova in performance (possibly as Giselle); studio portraits in costume, and a number of photographs at leisure; also photographs of her funeral service and a folder containing photographs of persons (unidentified) possibly associated with Pavlova.

The collection contains some rare books: Anna Pavlova by Victor Dandré (1932) signed by the author and contained in its original case; With Pavlova Around the World by Theodore Stier (undated); Pavlova by Watford Hyden (1931); Anna Pavlova by Cyril Beaumont (1932); three volumes from the Artists of the Dance series including The Marie Rambert Ballet and Tamara Karsavina by Arnold Haskell (1930) and Anna Pavlova by Valerian Svetloff (1930).

Administrative / Biographical History

Lilian Scott Wood (d. circa 1975) befriended Anna Pavlova when Pavlova settled in North London (1912). She became a devoted, lifelong fan, amassing a variety of memorabilia relating to the great Russian ballerina. Scott Wood was a notable supporter of so-called ‘White’ Russians (Tsarist supporters) in London, often inviting them to her large house in Ealing. She was a great-aunt of Helen Ordish (later Mrs Parmley), who inherited this collection of Pavlova material through her father, Brian Ordish, the nephew of Lilian Scott Wood.

Anna Pavlova (1881 – 1931) was the most celebrated ballerina of her generation. She studied at the Imperial Theatre School, St Petersburg, and graduated into the Mariinsky Ballet, where she made her official debut in 1899. She was championed by Marius Petipa during her early career, and rose through the ranks to become a Ballerina in 1905, and Prima Ballerina in 1906. She was a contemporary of Mikhail Fokine, who in 1907 choreographed for her an iconic solo dance, The Dying Swan, which she made famous throughout the world. She remained a leading dancer at the Mariinsky Theatre until 1913, although from 1908 she also began to forge a career abroad. In 1909 she made her début in Paris with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; by 1911 she had formed own Company, which she lead on countless tours all over the globe for two decades. She died suddenly from pneumonia during a tour to Holland, in January 1931, less than a month before her fiftieth birthday.

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

Gift of Mrs Helen Parmley, née Ordish, 3 April 2013

Custodial History

Previously belonged to Mrs Helen Parmley, née Ordish, who inherited the collection which was amassed by her great-aunt, Lilian Scott Wood. Scott Wood was a fan and friend of Anna Pavlova and became a collector of ephemera associated with the ballerina. Two items, an engraved silver card case (given to Pavlova in Tokyo, 1922) and a pink feather costume fan, were acquired at the auction held at Ivy House on 22 June 1931, following Pavlova’s death (the auction catalogue is also in the collection).