Balletomane’s Sketch Book – Book

Series nameRam Gopal: 1940s

In 1941, Adam and Charles Black Publishing in London published a sketch book of drawings by Kay Ambrose in ‘Balletomane’s Sketchbook’. Ambrose was an English artist and balletomane, whose work focussed on famous ballet dancers in their many environments including dressing rooms, on stage, dance postures and relaxing off stage. This book includes a chapter on “Exotic” ballet, which features photographs and sketches of Ram Gopal alongside fellow dancers, Retna Mohini and Sohan Lal. The sketches include Ram Gopal playing the drums off stage, and applying his make up before a performance.

Date of Creation / Publication1941
CreatorAmbrose, Kay
Associated Person/ OrganisationGopal, Ram
Collection and Reference NumberRam Gopal Collection (GB 2661 RGL)
Catalogue NumberRGL/DEC/1940/11
CopyrightThe Creator and/ or associated person or organisation where applicable
Access to originalsThe originals are located with Ann David, academic researcher and friend of Ram Gopal, and with Pam Cullen, Executor of the Ram Gopal Estate.
Series notesThe 1940s saw Ram Gopal reach international fame. Based in London, his performances were critically acclaimed and played to full audiences throughout the dance season. Ram Gopal met many great personalities during this time, however he was most in awe of his encounter with Queen Mary, who invited him to tea and perform for her. During this time, Kay Ambrose, a ballet artist, and Feliks Topolski, a Polish artist both began to sit in the wings at Ram Gopal's performances, sketching the dances every evening. Eventually a sketch book was published of Ram Gopal's performances by Ambrose. Topolski completed a portrait of Ram Gopal which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London. This decade also witnessed Gopal's meeting with Gandhi and Nehru, and he became the first Indian artist to tour with ENSA, visiting British and Indian troops. Gopal also established his popular dance school in Bangalore and returned to England in 1947. The digitised material in this file includes photographs,extracts of newspaper articles, books and performance programmes.
Collection notesThe digitised material in the Ram Gopal Collection dates back to 1938 and includes black and white as well as colour photographs, several flyers and extracts from books including Ram Gopal's autobiography. The items also include newspaper articles, images of dance costumes, slides, advertisements and performance programmes.
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