SHAW, George Bernard; COSTER, Howard (photographer).

Attractive inscribed photographic portrait on textured paper by Howard Coster.

London: Howard Coster, [early 1930s] Stock Code: 114626
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Signed by Howard Coster and inscribed by Bernard Shaw

A fine photographic portrait of Shaw, by Howard Coster, one of the most renowned portrait photographers of the day, signed by both sitter and photographer, and presented by Shaw to the American actress who had appeared in many of his plays, additionally inscribed by him "To Mary Lawton, G. Bernard Shaw, 13/11/36".

An excellent association: Shaw had known the American actress Mary Lawton since before the Great War. He directed her in the first Broadway production of his play The Philanderer (performed at the Little Theater in 1913-14). In February 1922 she was cast in Back to Methuselah.

In the 1930s she collaborated with the great Polish pianist on The Paderewski Memoirs (London and New York 1938), to which Shaw contributed a glowing letter of praise ("written after reading the American edition... and intended for publication" Laurence B280): "Though you have deserted the stage for literature your impersonation of Paderewski in this book of his and yours must rank with your greatest achievements as an actress. It has every quality of a great autobiography. It actually sent me to the index of the four volumes of my musical criticisms of 50 years ago to see what I had said when Paderewski swooped on London and was immediately drawn as an archangel by Burne-Jones". Mary was also a friend of Mark Twain's daughter Clara Clemens.

Howard Coster "photographed most of the leading figures in politics, literature and the arts... his work was frequently published in magazines" (National Portrait Gallery online). This portrait is used in reverse as the frontispiece to Dan H. Laurence's bibliography of Shaw.

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Mounted, glazed and framed at Goodspeed's Book Shop (overall size 425 x 323 mm; image 295 x 205 mm).


Signed by Shaw at the top of the image and by Coster (in pencil) on the mount, inscribed by Shaw on the mount. A few light scuffs to frame, slight oxidisation to areas of margin otherwise in excellent condition.


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