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Cabaret Theatre Club (London, England)
Collection of Cabaret Theatre Club and Cave of the Golden Calf printed ephemera, 1912-1914.
Physical Description:
.42 linear feet (1 box, 11 items)
Rare Books and Manuscripts
MSS 50
Yale Center for British Art, Friends of British Art Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Archives & Manuscripts
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).
The collection is open without restriction.
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.
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.
The collection is arranged chronologically.
Subject Terms:
Bantock, Granville, Sir, 1868-1946.
Bevan, Robert, 1865-1925.
Bohemianism -- Great Britain.
Cabaret Theatre Club (London, England)
Camden Town Group.
Cave of the Golden Calf (London, England)
Crawley, Eric.
Futurism (Art) -- Great Britain.
Gay bars -- Great Britain.
Ginner, Charles Isaac, 1878-1952.
Gore, Spencer Frederick, 1878-1914.
Intimate Theatre Society (London, England)
Lewis, Wyndham, 1882-1957.
London (England) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Mansfield, Katherine, 1888-1923.
Modern dance -- Great Britain.
Modernism (Art) -- Great Britain.
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. Bastien und Bastienne.
Music-halls (Variety-theaters, cabarets, etc.) -- Great Britain.
Nightclubs -- Great Britain.
Rebel Art Centre (London, England)
Restaurants -- Great Britain.
Rutherston, Albert, 1881-1953.
Theater -- Great Britain.
Uhl, Frida, 1872-1943.
Application forms.
Blank forms.
Crawley, Eric.
Gore, Spencer Frederick, 1878-1914.
Lewis, Wyndham, 1882-1957.
Cave of the Golden Calf (London, England)
Intimate Theatre Society (London, England)
IIIF Manifest:

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