Flemings Hall. 1962-3
Flemings Hall. 1962-3 Flemings Hall. 1962-3 Flemings Hall. 1962-3 Flemings Hall. 1962-3
Privately printed and published. 1963.

A unique personal photograph album created by the photographer Angus McBean recording a year at Flemings Hall, the Tudor house he bought in 1956. Oblong, 314x453mm. Quarter red morocco, illustrated boards. Marbled endpapers. Wear to corners and some staining and marking to covers but overall in very good condition. Forty five leaves created from photographs printed on cards (380x304mm) pasted back to back and then bound in with linen guttering. Most leaves have one photograph per page (c370-380x304mm), occasionally two or more printed on the same card. There are 112 black and white photographs by McBean with the first one being a double page spread of the facade of Flemings Hall. There are four additional black and photographs (385x305mm) by McBean loosely inserted. Towards the back of the album are four photographs of nineteenth-century engravings and watercolours of the house and seven photographs of the house and members of the Bedingfeld family who lived there for some nine hundred years together with a photograph of the plan of the house drawn by ALB (Bedingfeld) in 1933. The rear pastedown has a further photograph of a plan drawn by R.T.Bedingfeld in 1907. There are some other items of ephemera including newspaper and magazine articles with an interesting essay from The Field about the Hall by the architect Roderick Gradidge.
All the images are in excellent condition and, of course, McBean's photographs are superb. They show the house being restored and the garden being brought back to life - there are a few pictures of McBean's partner David Ball struggling with a lawn mower. There are photographs of friends staying in the house: the atmosphere oozes warmth and relaxation even in the winter scenes where the house looks stunning in the snow. It is clear that McBean saw Flemings Hall as his rural idyll - wild meadows abound and there are charming photographs of geese, chickens and cats. The pastoral ambience of McBean's photographs is given extra piquancy when one recalls that at precisely this time, McBean was reinventing himself as a photographer to the new generation of British pop stars, most famously of course, The Beatles. The Hall itself is a beautiful example of a Suffolk brick and timber building. Parts of it are thirteenth century but most of it was built around 1550 and there are later additions such as the Dutch-style gables. Angus McBean bought Flemings Hall in a state of some disrepair in 1960 and brought it back to life. He lived there until his health started to deteriorate in the 1980s. This is wonderful, unique and well-preserved collection of private images by one of the finest and most innovative British photographers of the twentieth century.