007 MAGAZINE - The World's Foremost James Bond Resource!

Ian Fleming


  100 Years Not Out!
GRAHAM RYE reports on various happenings in London relating to the celebrations surrounding the centenary of James Bond author Ian Fleming.

For Your Eyes Only banner Lambeth Road

Back in 1990 when I organised an ad hoc exhibition featuring the entire contents of EON Productions prop storerooms on ‘B’ Stage at Pinewood Studios, I hoped that one day in the future a professionally mounted exhibition dedicated to the subject matter would adequately showcase all the incredible creative works that flowed from the original fountainhead in ‘Goldeneye’, Jamaica via the publishing world through its pictorial and cinematic evolution. With the combination of the wonderfully mounted exhibitions at The Imperial War Museum and at The Fleming Collection in London, I’m pleased to report that Ian Fleming and his fascinating creation, James Bond 007, have at last been afforded the acclaim and gravitas they both richly deserve.

IWM For Your Eyes Only exhibition entrance

Invited to the 10.00am - 2.00pm Press View of ‘For Your Eyes Only IAN FLEMING AND JAMES BOND’ at The Imperial War Museum, it was with some trepidation I attended, remembering the many lack-lustre attempts at exhibiting the world of James Bond in the past two decades. No sooner had I entered the first exhibition corridor than I was confronted with Ian Fleming’s smoking jacket and a beautiful reproduction box of Morland cigarettes – images of the original box held in the 007 MAGAZINE Archive were supplied to enable the faithful recreation of this essential piece of Fleming/Bond minutiae. Next witnessing Ian Fleming’s writing desk and chair from his Jamaican home ‘Goldeneye’ behind glass was a strange experience; it was as though it should still have been there in Oracabessa as he had left it all those years ago. However, the scant odds that many Bond enthusiasts would have the opportunity to view it in its original surroundings made its inclusion in this exhibition all the more important. Around every corner of this very special exhibition one is met with pure gold. There were many items I’d either read about or seen photographs or facsimiles of, but never believed I’d ever have the opportunity to view the items personally. The exhibition is very much a stroll through Fleming’s life, which is made all the more interesting by the admirable way in which the Fleming family have allowed much personal material to be displayed to the public for the first time.

Lucy Fleming with Graham Rye 007 MAGAZINE Publisher

Ian Fleming's niece Lucy Fleming with 007 MAGAZINE Editor & Publisher Graham Rye.

The designers of the exhibition, Casson Mann, have brought a minimalist style to the whole affair that is classy and informative, and totally accessible. Some of their interactive elements within the exhibition are inspired. While the exhibition itself cannot be considered large, it is beautifully and tastefully assembled, and has so much of importance to see and read you could easily lose an hour or two of your life, but gain much to savour and remember. The exhibition looks at Fleming’s life through the lens of biographical influences on the Bond novels; notably how Fleming’s wartime experiences shaped plots and characters and provided a stage for the action to take place on. The narrative of the exhibition is focussed on allowing the visitor to get to know the man alongside his more famous creation and to see the links between the two. CASINO ROYALE, Fleming’s first book and the 21st James Bond film, bookends the exhibition, illustrating its defining status in Fleming’s life and the continuing legacy.

James Bond exhibits at the IWM For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond exhibition
James Bond film props/posters at the Imperial War Museum Ian Fleming Centenary - For Your Eyes Only

ABOVE: Film posters, costumes and props from the James Bond films, including Halle Berry's orange bikini from Die Another Day (2002), and Kara Milovy's (Maryam d'Abo) white winter jacket and bullet-riddled cello from The Living Daylights (1987).
BELOW: (left) Ian Fleming's writing desk and chair from his Jamaican home ‘Goldeneye’. (right) Other artefacts from the Fleming family including a portrait of Ian's father Valentine Fleming (1882-1917).

Ian Fleming's desk from ‘GoldenEye’ | Display or early family artefacts

Ian Fleming Centenary Menu