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Ned Kelly: Archive of Film Production Drawings

Ned Kelly: Archive of Film Production Drawings by CROSSLEY, George [Ned Kelly; Mick Jagger]] (1969)

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Author: CROSSLEY, George [Ned Kelly; Mick Jagger]]
Title: Ned Kelly: Archive of Film Production Drawings
Year: 1969
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: Australia
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
Price: £7000
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Added under Manuscripts  

Remarkable archival collection of 99 drawings made on location by the Australian artist George Crossley during the filming of Tony Richardson's Ned Kelly feature film which starred Mick Jagger.

The drawings vary in size from the largest at 37x50 cm (14.5x19.75 inches) to the smallest at 24x31 cm (9.5x12 inches). Most are executed in black pen on paper, sometimes with pencil sketching and occasional watercolour washes as on the half length portrait of 'Mick Jagger as "Ned Kelly" addressing the Jury Braidwood Courthouse 27th Aug '69... Ned Kelly Location Rehearsals G.S. Crossley'. All of the images have been laid down on card, possibly as part of a previous exhibition and all have detailed labels, often a first version jotted in situ when the images were created, and a second more formal label. Most of the drawings are signed by the artist as 'G.S. Crossley'. There are occasional marks to the portrait but generally the images are in very good condition and housed in an elephant folio portfolio with a small quantity of research material compiled by a previous owner.

Around half of the drawings are studies of the faces of the film's cast members, crew and extras. These are beautifully exhibited close-up portraits caught during breaks from filming, with a note of the sitter's identity and the location of the drawing, so: 'Clarissa Kaye [the second wife of James Mason] as Mrs Kelly' as well as numerous others including child extras and Jagger's stuntman, Bill Peter. A group of half a dozen of these portrait drawings feature members of the folk band, the Wild Colonial Boys, who performed in the film, some of whom are pictured making music.

Crossley went to considerable trouble to record the locations where the film was set with particularly fine images of 'Ring Site of the Ned Kelly Wild Wright fight scene Ned Kelly location Braidwood Oct. '69', 'Euroa Bank Hold-up Location... Oct '69' and a group of 'Extras at Hoskingtown Ned Kelly Location Sep 10th '69'

The filming of Ned Kelly's final gun fight is recorded in a sequence of less finished pencil drawings that show first the 'Rehearsals for the Ambush of Kelly' and then how 'Kelly fights his way out of the cutting emerging from the fog..' and finally 'Kelly overcome with loss of blood weakens and collapses'. A single pencil drawing depicts Kelly's discarded armour laid on the ground (the helmet worn by Jagger was stolen just as happened to Kelly's original headgear). The paraphernalia of film-making only occasionally makes it into these images such as in another drawing showing the final fight which depitcts film lights and the director in: 'Kelly's collapse when wounded and identification - by Inspector Nicholson - Glenrowan location.... Tony Richardson directing.'

The Australian artist responsible for this body of work, George S. Crossley, was born in Perth, studied at the Melbourne National Gallery School under William Dargie and worked as a television artist for the BBC in London where he held exhibitions as well as in the major Australian cities. No doubt the BBC work led to this commission which provides a candid and comprehensive record of the production of this controversial film.

Tony Richardson's Ned Kelly movie was released in 1970, starred Mick Jagger with Mark McManus playing the part of Kelly's friend Joe Byrne. It was a British production, but filmed entirely in Australia and shot with a largely Australian supporting cast. It was the first feature film to tell Kelly's life story in colour but the seventh Australian feature film overall to retell this story that continues both to enthrall and divides a nation. (Please request additional images.)
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