File F3808 - Alan Harkness Papers

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Alan Harkness Papers


  • 1928-1952. (Creation)

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Extent and medium

1 folder, 4 items

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Alan Harkness (1908-1952) was born in Northam, Western Australia. At the age of sixteen his father arranged for him to attend the National Gallery in Melbourne. While at the Gallery, he also studied at the Commercial School of Art. During this time he developed an interest in theatre design and production. In early 1928, as a member of the Live Art Society, Alan played the part of Dushyanta in Kalidasa’s ‘Sakuntala’ where he designed the programme cover, costumes, props and scenery. From this he was asked to join the Alan Wilkie Company. Between 1931 and 1935 Harkness and Kester Baruch established an experimental theatre called Ab-Intra, in Adelaide to explore ideas from European avant-garde theatre. In 1940 he joined Michael Chekhov’s Theatre Company. In 1947 Alan started the High Valley Theater in Ojai, California with Iris Tree, daughter of Sir Beerboom Tree. He died in a car crash in America in 1952.

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Scope and content

This file comprises 4 paintings and 1 folder.
[Item 1] Landscape (chickens in paddock), oil on board, 28 x 25 cm (Art no. 00499);
[Item 2] China figurine and vase (figure study on verso), oil on board, 39 x 27 cm (Art no. 00500);
[Item 3] Country house, signed "Alan Harkness 1922", watercolour on board with mount, 15 x 17 cm (Art no. 00501);
[Item 4] Shell, oil on board, 25 x 35 cm (Art no. 00502).
The folder [Item 5] includes: a typescript memoir titled 'About Alan : for his son Markus Crispin', written by Doris Christie (sister of Alan Harkness), 11 b&w photographs, (81 leaves ; 26 cm), with two negatives, black and white of of Mechthild and Alan Harkness inserted at beginning of book. -- Chekhov Theatre Players, Repertory for season 1941-42, 1941. -- Santa Barbara Civic Theatre presents Alan Harkness and Mechthild Johannsen in ‘Great Moments from Shakespeare : King Lear’. -- The playbill for the little theatre. The Chekhov Theatre Players present ‘Twelfth Night or, what you will’. -- Lobero Theatre, April 9, 1952. ‘Alan Harkness Memorial performance. -- 'Notes about the aim in our performances' by Alan Harkness, Sept 1951. -- Newspaper cuttings, 26 Apr 1938 to c1952. -- Four black and white photographs of Mechthild and Alan Harkness from 3 plays.

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Unrestricted access.

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Copyright applies.

Language of material

  • English

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Oversize F manuscript

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Revised, Linda Justo, 10-Aug-2021. Migrated from LMS: April 2019, P.A.




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