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Photo library find of the week: A 15 year photo search is over at Mary Evans Picture Library

Photo: Tom Gillmor found it! ©Luci Gosling
PAN also noticed the photograph above Tom – The Mary Evans office way back

In a tweet from work this week Luci Gosling, Head of Sales & Research at Mary Evans Picture Library, caught this dramatic shot of Head of Content at the library Tom Gillmor holding the result of a fifteen year search!

Here’s what the is all about from Luci’s Tweet: ‘Oh happy, HAPPY day! This picture has been lost somewhere in our archive for about 15 years. And clients kept asking for it. We’d given up all hope but, just like that, @tfgillmor tracked it down. Gold medal for special services to picture librarianship being cast as I type. It’s the Begum Aga Khan by the way, third wife of the Aga Khan, dripping in Cartier.’

Luci has sent PAN the search story details: ‘In a physical archive as large and varied as ours, once in a while, we’re unable to find things. We have been unable to find a page from The Sketch featuring the Begum Aga Khan wearing Cartier jewels for about 15 years but fortunately, Cartier (who made use of the image most frequently) had a scan from years ago – probably from before the ILN archive came here. Over the years we’ve bemoaned the fact we can’t find the original page but a recent enquiry from a museum in Hong Kong who wished to use us prompted super-sleuth Tom to give it one more try. He found the date reference on a scan of a page from an old exhibition catalogue and went off to the ILN volumes to see if it was there. I thought ‘No chance’ but withint 2 minutes he was BACK WITH IT IN HIS HANDS. If we’d had a bottle of champagne to hand, we would have cracked it open!!’

Princess Andrée Aga Khan (1898 – 1976), the third wife of Aga Khan II featured in The Sketch just prior to her marriage. Andrée Joséphine Carron married Aga Khan III in December 1929 and together they had one son, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. The couple divorced in 1943. Portrait showing her in evening dress with an ostrich feather stole or cape, wearing a tiara by Cartier.
Date: 1935 © Illustrated London News/Mary Evans Picture Library. Image no. is 13919979

‘The funny thing is, we searched for this picture within the ILN’s digitised magazines on the British Newspaper Archive (the entire archive was digitised page by page on-site at the library some years ago), so for some reason, their OCR wasn’t picking it up even though it was there all along. It just goes to show that sometimes old-fashioned, physical searching works best!’

1 comment

  • Love this! It’s like finding buried treasure, congrats!

    I recently found a fantastic print, long thought to me unrecoverable, thanks to the staff at the Tower Hamlets Archive and a visit in person. It wasn’t catalogued the way you would expect but a bit of lateral thinking and just being there to help with the thought process, did the trick. There is so much to gain from an analogue search.

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