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Collection of Cabaret Theatre Club and Cave of the Golden Calf printed ephemera

 Collection
Call Number: MSS 50

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises 11 items of printed ephemera concerning the Cabaret Theatre Club and the Cave of the Golden Calf. The items include: a preliminary prospectus (April, 1912); a general program (May, 1912); a prospectus for the second season (September, 1912); a preliminary announcement of the performance season of the Intimate Theatre Society (late 1912?); a program for June 17, 1913, featuring a performance of Bastien und Bastienne; membership application forms for the Cabaret Theatre Club and the Intimate Theatre Society, along with a form for requesting the membership application form (1912 or 1913); and three printed envelopes, addressed to Robert Bevan, the last of which may be from the Rebel Art Centre.

Dates

  • 1912-1914

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is the physical property of the Yale Center for British Art. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Yale Center for British Art, Friends of British Art Fund

Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.

Related Materials

The collections of the Yale Center for British Art, Department of Prints and Drawings, also include 30 original drawings concerning the Cave of the Golden Calf. These include two drawings by Eric Gill for his bas-relief calf (B1985.25.9 and B1986.16.21) and 28 studies by Spencer Frederick Gore for the club’s decorations.

Extent

.42 Linear Feet (1 box, 11 items)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/ycba.mss.0050

Overview

The collection comprises 11 items of printed ephemera concerning the Cabaret Theatre Club and the Cave of the Golden Calf. The items include: a preliminary prospectus (April, 1912); a general program (May, 1912); a prospectus for the second season (September, 1912); a preliminary announcement of the performance season of the Intimate Theatre Society (late 1912?); a program for June 17, 1913, featuring a performance of Bastien und Bastienne; membership application forms for the Cabaret Theatre Club and the Intimate Theatre Society, along with a form for requesting the membership application form (1912 or 1913); and three printed envelopes, addressed to Robert Bevan, the last of which may be from the Rebel Art Centre.

Biographical / Historical

The Cabaret Theatre Club, also frequently known as The Cave of the Golden Calf (a reference to its premises below street level at 9 Heddon Street, London) was a prominent nightclub created by Frida Strindberg, operating from 1912 to early 1914. It was associated with notable artists including Wyndham Lewis, Spencer Gore, Jacob Epstein, and Eric Gill, who contributed to its decor and emblems. Intended as a meeting place for writers, artists, and bohemians, the club may be considered the first British "gay bar" in the modern sense.

A general program for the club, May 1912 (f. 3), offers the "Aims and Programme" for the Club: "Our aims have the simplicity of a need: We want a place given up to gaiety, to a gaiety stimulating thought, rather than crushing it. We want a gaiety that does not have to count with midnight. We want surroundings, which after the reality of daily life, reveal the reality of the unreal. We want light and we want song. With these quite modest wishes we desire to harm nobody, unless it be such 'outre-mer' purveyors of entertainment as flourish, not necessarily on their merits so much as on the drastic dullness of our home-life ... Subjoined is, in an approximative and preliminary form, our first week's programme, the character of which can be best suggested by the names of some of the authors and composers under whose banners we range ourselves: Abercrombie, Villiers de l'Isle Adam, John Davidson, Walter Delamare, Arthur Machen, T. Sturge Moore, Ezra Pound, August Strindberg, Frank Wedekind, Yeats; Granville Bantock, Delius, Holbrooke, Raoul Lapara, Ernest Moret, Florence Schmitt, Dalhousie Young. ... Small tables--at which, up to 11, refreshments will be served, after 11, suppers--will be a welcome relief from the disciplinary ranks of theatre seats ..."

In his memoirs, Wyndham Lewis describes the venue: “This very adventurous woman [Strindberg] ... rented an enormous basement. Hence the term 'Cave'. She had it suitably decorated with murals by myself, and numbers of columns by Jacob Epstein: hired an orchestra -- with a frenzied Hungarian gypsy fiddler to lead it -- a smart corps of Austrian waiters and an Austrian cook; then with a considerable amount of press-promotion she opened as a night-club. With the Epstein figures appearing to hold up the threateningly low ceiling, the somewhat abstract hieroglyphics I had painted round the walls, the impassioned orchestra, it must have provided a kick or two for the young man about town of the moment ...” (Rude assignment: a narrative of my career up-to-date. London, New York: Hutchinson & Co., 1950).

General

  1. Brooker, Peter. Bohemia in London: the social scene of early modernism. Houndmills; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
  2. Cork, Richard. Art beyond the gallery in early 20th century England. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.
  3. Cork, Richard. Wild thing: Epstein, Gaudier-Brzeska, Gill. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2009.
  4. Hoare, Philip. Oscar Wilde's last stand: decadence, conspiracy, and the most outrageous trial of the century. New York: Arcade Pub., 1998.
  5. Michel, Walter. Wyndham Lewis: paintings and drawings. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971.
  6. Upstone, Robert. "Study for a Mural Decoration for ‘The Cave of the Golden Calf’ 1912 by Spencer Gore," catalogue entry, May 2009, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/spencer-gore-study-for-a-mural-decoration-for-the-cave-of-the-golden-calf-r1139297, accessed 15 December 2017.
Title
Guide to the Collection of Cabaret Theatre Club and Cave of the Golden Calf printed ephemera
Status
Completed
Author
compiled by Francis Lapka
Date
December 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Yale Center for British Art, Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

Contact:
Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts
1080 Chapel Street
P. O. Box 208280
New Haven CT 06520-8280 US
203-432-2814

Location

1080 Chapel Street
New Haven , CT 06510

Opening Hours