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Bennett and Wells star in new pack of images

Some of the great figures from morris history are being featured on a set of collectors' cards put together by the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

Sam Bennett of Ilmington, the Bampton fool Jingy Wells and Headington Quarry's William Kimber are each recalled on one of the 55 cars in the Images of Tradition series.

Others depict Padstow 'Obby 'Oss, the Marshfield Mummers and the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.

The collector Cecil Sharp and his great rival Mary Neal, who actually began the morris revival, are also represented - but not on the same card.

"They're a set of what we used to call bubble gum cards," says Malcolm Taylor, the librarian at the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

"They're the sort of things people used to collect, like cigarette cards, but you buy the complete set. They're just something to have.

"They all have interesting captions of about 150 words. There's a bit on the Neal one about her falling out with Sharp, but it makes a point of being complimentary about her significance in the morris revival."

The aim has been to cover the full breadth of the folk movement in the 20th century.

Personalities such as Bert Lloyd and Peter Bellamy are depicted, along with important books and music albums. "Of course, there are lots of gaps," says Malcolm.

But it's not simply a rehash of familiar material. "Some of the picture have never been published before."

The pack also includes a "rather nice" enamelled badge showing Cecil Sharp on his bicycle.

But the most intriguing element of the Images pack is taken from one of the society's Kinora films, dated around 1912.

It's been converted into a flipper book - dozens of near-identical images which recreate the flickering effect of the old film when the pages are riffled through the fingers.

The "movie" shows Sharp, George Butterworth and the Karpeles sisters performing a country dance, says Malcolm, "with Sharp and Butterworth colliding at the end - unmissable."

The dance is called Hey Boys, Up Go We. "It was originally called Cuckolds All In A Row, but Cecil Sharp thought that was too rude, so he changed it."

Images of Tradition is available from Cecil Sharp House, priced 14.99. Phone 0207 485 2206.

Win a free set from Shave The Donkey: we have one Images of Tradition pack to give away in our competition to mark the morris centenary - look out for details in the next few days.

1999 Simon Pipe, Mark Rogers, The Outside Capering Crew

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