Frame Us (Little Brother) - (Current Exhibition)

Drawings of spectacles by the famous become 'frame us'

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Simon Murray, a.k.a "Mr Specs" has been collecting spectacles for almost fifty years in his role as a costumier and supplier of props to the film industry. His collection, which originated with L & H Nathan in 1790, covers 230 years of eyewear styles, including genuine antique and vintage frames and historically accurate reproductions. For the past twenty plus years he has also encouraged the celebrities he has met in the course of his professional work to draw their own spectacles - the more imaginative the better - on any piece of paper they have lying to hand.

In June 2020 an exhibition of some of these drawings was due to take place at a gallery in Marylebone, London. To be called Frame Us, the exhibition was also to feature actual frames of the rich and famous as well as spec-tacular stars of the silver screen. After the exhibition the celebrity drawings were to be sold for charity.

Frame Us Little Brother exhibition case

In preparation for this event the British Optical Association Museum at the College of Optometrists mounted a small parallel exhibition - Frame Us (Little Brother). This marked the fact that the celebrity drawings have all been scanned and the museum will retain the electronic archive of them for posterity. 

The exhibition was due to open on Wednesday 1 April (April Fools day) 2020. As Simon says, he always does things to mark his Mum's birthday and "You'd be a fool not to come". Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus (COVid-19) the museum is currently closed to visitors until further notice, but the exhibition had been installed by late March and will be awaiting viewers as soon as we re-open, (we hope) later in 2021. It consists of reproductions of the celebrity drawings, spread across the bookshelves in the College Library. For now, here's a picture of the vision-related exhibition that no one can see!

Simon Murray outside RentStart in Walton

Meanwhile, on Friday 18 December 2020, a third version of 'Frame Us' opened at RentStart, a social enterprise supporting the homelss and vulnerably housed, based at 55 High Street, Walton-on-Thames, but due to COVID Tier restrictions it is currently just a shop window display viewable from the street. Fuller visitor access will be permitted if and when it is safe. Our picture shows a masked Simon outside the shop holding a montage of cinematic images relating to his long career. 2021 marks Simon's 50th anniversary of working in the film industry.

It is still envisaged that the original 'Frame Us' drawings will be auctioned after one year in aid of various vision-related and cancer charities. We will post further details when we have them.

 

Meanwhile, can you guess who drew this? (Clues below)

Drawing of spectacles by a celebrity

 

  1. These glasses were designed by a female celebrity, now deceased
  2. She was an actress who appeared in Carry On films, had a UK number one hit in 1962 and became famous for playing a leggy shop assistant in a popular BBC sit-com
  3. She had a role from the very start of a long-running soap opera and stayed in the series for nearly 22 years
  4. The rims of the spectacles are supposed to represent the doors of washing machines

 

Or this...

Drawing of spectacles by a celebrity number 2

 

  1. These glasses were drawn by a male celebrity who is still alive.
  2. He is a Scottish-born actor, who became an American citizen (but not before he was awarded an OBE in 2013) and has also served as an ambassador for UNICEF. His charity work is sometimes conducted by motorbike.
  3. In 2008 he had a cancerous mole removed from below his right eye
  4. He played a major character in the Star Wars series.

 

Or this...

Drawing of spectacles by a celebrity Number 3
  1. These glasses were drawn by a male celebrity who is now deceased.
  2. He was an English actor who somehow ended up playing a number of celebrated Irish characters.
  3. He appeared in A Private Fuction, The Dressmaker, Alien 3 and Brassed Off.
  4. His memoir is entitled A Spectacle of Dust.

 

Or this...

Drawing of spectacles by a celebrity number 4

 

  1. These glasses were drawn by a male celebrity, who is now deceased.
  2. He was a musician who formed his own jazz group in the 1950s.
  3. He played a trumpet solo (miemd on camera by someone else) in the 1954 film Genevieve and also played on James Bond soundtracks.
  4. He was awarded the MBE shortly before his death in 1999.

 

Or this...

Drawing of spectacles by a celebrity Number 5
  1. A little bit different this one: These glasses were drawn by a male 'celebrity' within the world of optics, who is still alive.
  2. He was a failed trainee architect. His buildings would not stand up and he was advised to consider designing smaller items!
  3. His apprenticeship, beginning in 1960, included cleaning the toilets, sweeping the floors, dusting and packing frames for delivery.
  4.  He created sunglasses for Audrey Hepburn in the films Two for the Road and Charade.

 

We'll add more teasers in the coming weeks.

Coronavirus COVID-19 update

**The Museum remains closed to visitors until further notice**

Although it now legal for UK museums to re-open (subject to various restrictions) as of 17 May 2021 the College has still not set a date for the re-opening the museum to visitors and researchers. We advise that we are not currently taking any bookings for dates prior to October 2021. All other museum services (enquiries, acquistions, sales, image-licensing etc.) are now operating and the curator is on-site at least two days a week.

 

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