Rare film posters and art to go up for auction in Belfast

A trove of rare film posters and art relating to one of Northern Ireland’s greatest directors will go up for auction next week.

Brian Desmond Hurst directed the 1951 A Christmas Carol adaptation Scrooge, as well as Dangerous Moonlight (1941) and scenes in Caesar And Cleopatra (1945) among scores of others.

Born in east Belfast in 1895, Hurst served in the First World War before emigrating to Canada, where he attended the Toronto College of Art before learning film direction from the legendary John Ford in Hollywood.

As well as directing a number of blockbusters, Hurst also maintained a strong Irish output, including Ourselves Alone, a controversial film about the Irish War of Independence, once banned in Northern Ireland because of its political nature.

A selection of posters and an image relating to Scrooge, which was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst (Press Eye/PA)

The work of the director, who died in 1986, was recently celebrated with an exhibition at the Ulster Museum.

His great-great nephew and administrator of the Hurst estate, Allan Esler Smith, said that next week’s auction is a rare chance for film fans to own a piece of history from a classic time.

He described Hurst as a man from “somewhat humble beginnings in east Belfast” who had a “spectacular career and cemented himself as one of the greatest artists of his time”.

“Brian was remarkably talented as a film director and his creativity has stood the test of time as his films still remain firm favourites to this very day among audiences,” he said.

“We received a great deal of interest from film fans during the recent exhibition in the Ulster Museum and we expect the upcoming auction to be no different.

“This sale is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of rare film history and art.”

The sale next week at Bloomfield Auctions will include a number of vintage film posters from some of Hurst’s best-known movies from the 1930s to the 1960s, along with original lobby cards, press packs and other items.

Karl Bennett, Bloomfield Auctions’ managing director, added: “At Bloomfield Auctions we are synonymous with unique and historic sales and this one is certainly amongst the most interesting.

“It’s a huge privilege and honour for us to host a sale of items belonging to not only one of Northern Ireland’s greatest exports but of Hollywood’s as well.

“Especially at a time when film and television is now one of the key industries here in Northern Ireland and Hurst was the pathfinder for all who follow.

“We have some beautiful posters for sale, as well as press packs and lobby cards, which give a great insight into life as a leading film director at that time.

“These items will be ‘must haves’ for film fans all over the world and as such, I’m expecting to see global interest in the items we have for sale.”

The Brian Desmond Hurst auction will take place at Bloomfield Auctions on Tuesday April 30 at 1pm. Bidding will take place online and in person. Visit www.bloomfieldauctions.co.uk to register.