Just as Beverley Nichols was considered a controversial figure, exhibiting this photograph may also seem like an unusual choice. The photograph has obviously aged and has suffered from mold growth, which mars its smooth matte surface with a distracting spottiness. Mold is a particular problem for gelatin photographs because the gelatin has a tendency to absorb moisture, even from the air. In addition, the photograph is mounted on an obviously non-archival board that once functioned as a page in an album. We know this because the board has gilded edges, which was common practice for important volumes, and retains its now-dingy looking, linen stub. It would seem common sense to remove this photograph quickly from its ageing and unflattering mount, but the context this stub offers is irreplaceable. As currently housed in Special Collections, further damage is prevented through environmental controls and close monitoring. 

The photograph captures a formal group of ten men. Nichols is front and center, while Sir Winston S. Churchill is sitting just to his right. All the gentlemen have been named directly on the bottom of the mount in ink. Nichols has openly acknowledged his tendency to name-drop. Though Churchill is the most famous figure captured in this image, the most interesting label is perhaps Nichols’ “Self,” which suggests that Nichols wrote these labels himself. His attention to the quality of the album and notation of the images indicates that he valued this photograph and, by extension, the company with him. Even though not aesthetically pleasing in a traditional sense, this photograph and its mount allow us a glimpse into the mind of Beverley Nichols.

          -Karissa Muratore