N.p. Cafe Au Pere de Nico, 1956-1974. An archive of 80 daily menus from Cafe Au Pere de Nico in Chelsea, London, signed by visiting luminaries from world leaders to icons of the entertainment world, displayed for in the cafe for nearly two decades between 1956 and 1974. Together with a sketch by Paul Winner of the restaurant’s interior, inscribed by Winner and dated August 18th, 1973. At the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, Au Pere de Nico was the Chelsea restaurant to be seen in for London society as well as the “court crowd” that made their way over for a meal from The Royal Court Theatre.
Autographs include: Winston and Arabella Churchill, John Gielgud, Mick Jagger, Laurence Olivier, Rex Harrison, Alec Guiness, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Marlene Dietrich, Dirk Bogarde, Andre Previn, Omar Sharif, Louis Armstrong, Rudolf Nureyev, Harold Pinter, Vivien Leigh, Richard Widmark, Susannah York, Sidney Poitier, George Sanders, Donald Pleasance, Diana Rigg, Vincent Price, Peter Cook, Claire Bloom and Rod Steiger, Richard Harris, Glenda Jackson, Margaret Court, Janet Suzman, Joan Bakewell, Wolf Mankowitz, Millicent Martin, Micheal Mac Liammoir, Bernard Levin, Celia Johnson, Dave Allen, Robert Morley, Lance Percival, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, Beatrice Lillie (Lady Peel), Malcolm Sargent, Michael Rennie, Maggie Smith, Brian Rix, Bill Simpson, Peter Wyngarde, Huw Wheldon, Anthony Quayle, Anthony Steel, Mai Zetterling, Emlyn Williams, Michael Bentine (with drawing), David Tomlinson, Kay Hammond, Susan Hampshire, Clement Freud, Joyce Grenfell, Andrew Cruickshank, Cicily Countneidge, Fenella Feiding, Richard Briers, Kate Boyle, John Betjeman, Francis Chichester, Jack Hawkins, Stanley Holloway, Paul Scofield, Hermione Badeley, Peggy Ashcroft, Max Adrian, Alan Badel, Alan Patrick Herbert, Peter Bull, Barbara Kelly, Sylvia Syms, Osbert Lancaster, Davy Kaye, Corbet Woodall, Trevor Howard, Googie Withers, and Eric Portman.
The menus at Au Pere de Nico were hand made on a daily basis, each with the given day’s date printed at the top, making for an interesting time-stamp for each autograph. In many instances the date of a signature corresponds to a known production in which a given celebrity appeared at the Royal Court Theatre. A snapshot of celebrity culture during one of London’s most vibrant periods as a nexus in the world of the arts. Not so much a collection of autographs as a portrait of an era.
Condition of the menus varies, Very Good to Very Good plus overall, with cropping to some of the menus, pinholes at the corners, and general wear from daily exposure. Housed in a lovely solander box with a design illustrating the restaurant in a Parisian style.