07 March 2014
SIG: Audio Visual
The Grand Prix Trophy (see photo) that is awarded to the winner was designed by Lord David Linley, the son of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, and was purchased for the Festival in 1990. Arthur Rackham was then the Chairman of the Festival Committee, and he generously donated the money to make the purchase. Arthur visited Lord Linley’s studio to select the design, which is reminiscent of the top of an Ionic column. Arthur is still a very active photographer in the Buxton area, and was recently awarded Life Membership of the RPS after initially joining way back in 1953. He recalls that in those days the RPS meetings were held at Princes Gate in London, and that visiting speakers were required to wear dinner jackets when giving lectures!
The Festival itself has been running since 1976, and prior to the current trophy being commissioned, the Grand Prix winners were presented with a unique piece of glass. These were provided by the Whitefriars Glassworks, and were actually made from by-products of the glass production process. At the end of each firing there would be a residue of waste glass of various shapes at the bottom of the oven. These were utilised as highly individual glass sculptures for the trophies!
Today, the Grand Prix Trophy is kept at Fenton House, and because of its value the winner only gets to be photographed with it rather than keep it! A plaque, also kept at Fenton House, was subsequently commissioned from Lord Linley to record the names of the winners. A list of these can also be seen on the website in the Grand Prix Winners section. The current holder of the Trophy is Keith Leedham, the Grand Prix winner from the last Festival in 2012. As the date of this year’s Festival approaches, I wonder who will have the honour in 2014?