The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley Exhibition

The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley exhibition opened at the Guille-Allés Library in St. Peter Port, Guernsey on Thursday 10th May and will remain on display until Saturday 9th June 2018.

The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley Exhibition at the Guille-Alles Library, St Peter Port, Guernsey © The Bagley Brief.

The exhibition was officially opened by Sam Matthews of Moore Stephens, the Bagley Trustees. Also present at the opening were: John Gollop, Guernsey States Deputy for St. Peter Port North; Dr Jason Monaghan, Head of Heritage Services at Guernsey Museums & Galleries; Russ Fossey, Head of Arts Development at Guernsey Arts Commission; Melissa Mourton co-founder of the Guernsey Arts Foundation, who also sponsored a wine and canapé reception at the opening; Catriona Stares, steering group member of the Guernsey Literary Festival; David Brawn, Publishing Director – Estates at HarperCollins Publishers; Peter Le Vasseur, Bagley’s portrait artist together with his wife Rev. Linda Le Vasseur; Graham Jackson, Bagley’s portrait photographer together with his wife Lucy Jackson; and members of the public who had attended the earlier talk about the author as part of the Guernsey Literary Festival. Both the talk and exhibition opening ran smoothly due to the assistance of Rachel Wyatt, Olivia de Lisle and other staff members of Guille-Allés Library, to whom I am very grateful.

On display are photographic portraits of the author taken at his former home, Câtel House, on 26th August 1979 by local photographer Graham Jackson. Also on display is a portrait of the author and his wife painted by local artist Peter Le Vasseur in 1980, titled ‘Moon Fantasy.’

HarperCollins Publishers have provided some rare cover artwork and layouts from their archives, which have been digitally copied for display, including:

The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley: Landslide, Wyatt's Hurricane and The Spoilers cover art © HarperCollins Publishers.

Landslide (London: Collins, 1967) artwork board – artist Michael (Michel) Atkinson;

Wyatt’s Hurricane (London: Fontana, 1968) artwork board – unknown artist;

The Spoilers (London: Collins, 1969) artwork board from cover transparency – artist Norman Weaver;

The Tightrope Men (London: Collins, 1973) Collins layout board – cover artist Graham Miller;

The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley: Anthology, Night of Error cover art and Flyaway layout © HarperCollins Publishers.

Desmond Bagley Collectors Choice Anthology (London: Collins, 1979) artwork board – artist Brian Dennington;

Flyaway (London: Collins, circa 1983 -1990) Collins layout board – unknown cover artist;

Night of Error (London: Collins, 1984) artwork board – artist Donald McPherson; and

Night of Error (London: Collins, 1984) Collins front and rear flaps layout board.

There are also ten informative exhibition boards: four about the author; one about Joan Bagley and five about the sixteen novels published by Collins.

The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley Exhibition at the Guille-Alles Library, St Peter Port, Guernsey © The Bagley Brief.

For those unable to visit the exhibition in Guernsey, I have updated my website to include the information from some of the exhibition boards, the links for which are below:

About Bagley

The boy who was different 1923 – 1937

Employment, wanderlust and adventure in the Sahara 1937 – 1947

South Africa, journalism and short stories 1947 – 1962

Joan Brown and Bagley’s career as a novelist

Joan Bagley and posthumous publication

Joan Magaret Bagley

At the conclusion of the exhibition the material will move to a more permanent home on the island where it will continue to be displayed. More about that in a future blog post nearer the time.


Images © The Bagley Brief; HarperCollins Publishers.

From ‘The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley Exhibition’, first exhibited at the Guille-Allés Library, St. Peter Port, Guernsey – 10th May – 9th June 2018.

The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley - © The Bagley Brief.