The Belles of St.Ttrinian's

Artist: Ronald Searle
Format: UK Quad (30"x 40")
Condition: Excellent
Year: 1954


Scottish actor Alastair Sim was one ofBritain's best loved comic character actors especially during the 1940's-50's. Among notable roles were those in "London Belongs To Me" in 1948 (an inspiration for Alec Guinness's performance in 1955's "The LadyKillers") and "Scrooge" based on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (1951). However, his most recognised role was that of Headmistress Millicent Fritton in 1954’s “The Belles of St. Trinian’s”. The film was the first in a series about the out-of-control and rebellious girl’s boarding school. Though playing the role in drag, Sim earned plaudits for his measured yet charming and humorous portrayal and is certainly one of the reasons the film is still so loved today.


The poster for the debut "St Trinian's" film places Sim to the forefront (the artist for this fine illustration is un-attributed but possibly is Eric Pulford). However, it is apt that the original creator of the "St Trinian's" concept, cartoonist Ronald Searle, was asked to embellish the poster with his spiky caricature of one of the wayward schoolgirls. Indeed, Searle's illustrations provide a line of continuity, being incorporated into the 3 posters for the sequels: "Blue Murder at St. Trinian's" (1957) (image courtesy of, The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's" (1960) and "The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery" (1966). Although Alastair Sim was only to reprise his role in the first sequel, it is testament to his impact that he is indelibly associated with the series.


Of all the "St Trinian's" film posters, "The Belles of St Trinian's" is the hardest poster to track down. Obviously, this is partly due to age but perhaps as the debut in what later became a successful series, there was less cache in owning the poster initially. Clearly, very few have survived. In common with most of the posters in the Fiskens collection, this poster has been professionally restored (de-acified) and linen-backed. Fortunately, the poster was not in bad condition when first acquired but we present images of the pre-restored poster also for comparison, one clear improvement being the flattening of the original machine fold-lines.