Key event and dates

I am updating and improving the page as I find out more. Please forgive me if I make mistakes. I will try to use facts or information in the public domain unless I have permission to use copyright material. This is an exploration. You will see there are holes and question marks.

In 2015 I started by researching press cuttings, family documents, letters, sketch books, film and photographs to piece together this chronology.

From 2016 to date I have gained a number of additional insights and facts from books and documentaries. These include Alexander Korda (1959) by Paul Tabori, Alexander Korda, The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1975) by Karol Kulik, Charmed Lives (1979) by Micheal Korda, Korda Britain's Movie Mogul (2002) by Charles Drazin, the BBC TV documentary The Golden Years of Alexander Korda (broadcast in 1969) and Stella's BBC TV's Nationwide 1974 interview.

Also, in July 2016, I was able to spend many useful hours at the Margaret Herrick, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fairbanks Centre for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood; and the Frick Art Reference and Metropolitan Museum of Art libraries in New York.

I am particularly grateful to Monty's niece, Sonia Jones, for giving me her journal of a family visit she made to Australia in 1994 and for her published book, The Primrose Path, that contains family history.

I am also indebted to one of Monty's relations (as yet I do not know the name) for a project called, Monty's Perth Today, and to Dauid Sibtain, Stella's great nephew, for his project on her.  I discovered both these amongst the documents.

I would be very grateful for any additions or corrections to the chronology. If you have any please send me a post from the Contact page of this website.


1935 - Building Denham Studios. Filming 'The Shape of Things to Come'. Kay Harrison heads-up Technicolor UK

 Monatgu Marks (centre)  on Vincent Korda's set of H.G. Wells' and Alexander Korda's 'The Shape of Things To Come'

Monatgu Marks (centre)  on Vincent Korda's set of H.G. Wells' and Alexander Korda's 'The Shape of Things To Come'

January, the final purchase of land for Denham Studios took place.

June, construction work on Denham Studios began. It was designed to rival Hollywood. The Prudential's funding made the ambitious project possible.

5 September, Alexander Korda became an 'owner-member' of United Artists, joining Samuel Goldwyn, Douglas Fairbanks Snr., Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. 

By October Technicolor, Gerrard Industries and the Prudential had registered Technicolor Ltd. in the UK. Kay Harrison became its Managing Director, Dr. Herbert Kalmus Chairman and Sir Adrian Baillie Vice-Chairman. The switch from Hillman to Technicolor was because it appeared to be the better system and had been used by United Artists.

Monty negotiated contracts details with a number of stars, including a then relatively 'unknown' Vivien Leigh

H.G. Wells' 'The Shape of Things to Come' was shot at Denham Studios. (The visionary film was released early 1936)


1936 - Denham Studios Fire. Stella Marks exhibits at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts

 Monty at his desk at london films productions

Monty at his desk at london films productions

2 March, Monty received 10,000 shares in London Films Productions Trust Limited.

March, Denham Studios Fire.

4 May to 8 August, three of Stella's miniatures were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts: Mrs. Adam Gimble, Miss Marjorie Williamson daughter of theatrical producer J.C. Williamson, and Patricia Stella's daughter. 

November, Stella visited Buenos Aires. She sailed on the R.M.S.P. Almanzora from England with Mrs. A.W. Kelly, wife of Arthur Kelly, United Artists' International Vice President. (source: 10 November 1936 Buenos Aires Herald)


1937 - Stella Marks exhibits at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Monty and Stella start high profile visit to Australia

3 May to 7 August, two of Stella's miniatures were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts: Mrs. Arthur Kelly and Mrs. Edward Oakford.

October, Pat was sent to finishing school in Lausanne, Switzerland.

29 October, Monty and Stella set sail from the UK to Australia on the RMS Strathaird via Egypt (Suez Canal) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Monty took on the additional role as General Manager of 'London Imperial Pictures'. His mission was to expand the market for British films across the Empire and thus compete better with Hollywood.

This strategy was in Alexander Korda mind back in January 1935 when he observed that total receipts from Australia were less than the profit he had already made on the run of The Scarlett Pimpernel at the Leicester Square Theatre [source: Karol Kulik and BFI press cutting].

In particular Monty would lobby for the removal of quotas and assess the establishment of a permanent studio in Australia. He also was there to meet with Cecil Marks, General Manager of United Artists, Australasia. Monty's hope was for the production of Australian films with strong, universal stories; films that would show the world the sophistication, modernity and beauty of his homeland and move away from previous clichéd images and caricatures of Australia.

November (beginning of the month), three just completed Films (Paradise for Two, The Return of the Scarlett Pimpernel and South Riding) were flown to Monty's ship then in Marseilles for him to arrange world premières in Australia. 

30 November, Monty and Stella stopped over in Fremantle, Perth. They were welcomed by Eric Lamb, Western Australian Manager for United Artists.

6 December, they stopped over in Melbourne.

7 December, Stella mentioned she aimed to do more oil portraits than miniatures "to preserve her eyesight". (source: 7 December The Sun News-Pictorial)

8 December, Stella and Monty arrived in Sydney.

14 December, Monty praised Ken G. Hall's Australian film Lovers and Luggers after a private showing.

16 December, Monty and Stella attended the première of 'Balalaika' at the Theatre Royal.

December, at the Millions Club, Sydney, Monty met with film executives at the Council of the British Film Industry Association of Australia and New Zealand.

24 December, Monty and Stella had Christmas with family members in Melbourne. (They stayed at Menzies' Hotel)

During this year London Films Productions was in complex discussions* regarding the control of United Artists.

[* note from Anthony Pettifer: much has been written about London Films and United Artists, but I need to study more about what really happened. It was pivotal to the fate of the British film industry, Korda's huge ambitions and, more personally, my grandfather's career.]

 Stella on route to australia. photo by monty

Stella on route to australia. photo by monty

 Still from a film of Montagu Marks speaking on Cinesound Review, Australia December 1937

Still from a film of Montagu Marks speaking on Cinesound Review, Australia December 1937


1938 - Continued visit to Australia and New Zealand. Stella Marks' miniature of Justice McKenna bought by Felton Bequest. Film quota problems. Propaganda. Return to the UK via Ceylon. Monty leaves London Films. Douglas Fairbanks Senior, Montagu Marks and Sir Adrian Baillie set up Fairbanks International.

12 January, Monty announced that 5 new films from London Films Productions were on show in London's West End. (So what happened to the idea of Australian world premières?)

15 January, 'Paradise for Two' Australian première at the Athenaeum, Melbourne.

1 February, Monty flew to Brisbane for two days.

2 February, Monty urged Sunday evening opening of cinema's in Australia with a % of takings supporting local quality production.

4 February, Monty and Stella sailed to New Zealand on the SS Monterey. (source: 4 February 1938 The Argus, The Sun News-Pictorial and The Age)

7 February, they arrived in Auckland and were met by B. Allen, New Zealand Manager of United Artists.

14 February, Monty was the guest of honour at the 33 Club.

25 February, after the film quota debate in House of Commons on 24 February, Monty tried to reassure the Australian film industry, "I am quite positive there will be no law passed in England that will discriminate against Empire film".

26 February, on behalf of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, The Felton Bequest bought Stella's portrait miniature of Mr Justice McKenna of the U.S. Supreme Court. (source: 26 February 1938 The Argus and The Age)

? to May, Stella's work was exhibited as part of the '150 Years of Australian Art' celebrations at the National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. [source: 22 January 1938 The Argus (Melbourne)].

1 March, Monty and Stella set sail on the RMS Orion from Sydney to the UK.

 

Strongest propaganda in the world is entertainment - Montagu Marks

With storm clouds gathering in Europe, during the January and February months of the Australasian tour, Monty's message became more political: he argued that the emotional power of film to influence national sentiments was greater than the press. Thus, the responsibility of film producers was even greater than newspaper editors.
He wrote, "The strongest propaganda in the world is entertainment" and referred to the ideal of "England and Freedom" embodied in The Scarlett Pimpernel.
He also advocated a British owned chain of cinemas across the Empire. "What would be said if all the newspapers were controlled by a foreign owner with anti-British tendencies?" he asked.
As someone who had called Australia, America and Britain 'home', he believed that America and Britain, with their shared belief in democracy and freedom (albeit with different cultures), should 'stick together' against the looming threat.

12 March, the Anschluss.

15 March, Monty and Stella reached Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

April, Monty and Stella arrived back in the UK.

April, negotiations on Monty leaving London Films. By the summer he had left. This appeared to have coincided with the Prudential's growing disenchantment with Korda, as expressed by Sir Percy Crump in an internal memo. (Source: 'A Sense of Security: 150 years of Prudential'. Granta Editions).

April?, Monty had a meeting with Winston and Randolph Churchill over a private lunch with Korda.

8 July, Monty and Sir Adrian Baillie MP had set up Albion Films, with initial capitol secured by Swiss interests of over $2,000,000 ($34,000,000 in 2016 value). The company was formally announced on 12 July. (sources: 9 and 13 July 1938 Variety). Sir Adrian Baillie was a Director of Technicolor Ltd, the British company run by Kay Harrison, Monty's brother. Sir Adrian Baillie was also a cousin of John Whitney's wife. John Whitney and his cousin Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney were major investors in Technicolor.

7 November, it was reported that Monty and Sir Adrian Baillie were planning a $2,500,000 (over $42,000,000 in 2016 value) partnership with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and United Artists. Monty, "head of Albion Films", was "on his way" to Hollywood. (source: Motion Picture Daily 7 November 1938).

9 - 10 November, Kristallnacht in Germany and Austria.

10 November, Monty arrived in New York and flew to Hollywood to confer with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. (source: Motion Picture Daily, 11 November 1938).

15 November, Monty and Douglas Fairbanks Sr left Hollywood for New York (source: Variety Daily front page, 11 November 1938). 

16 November, Monty and Douglas Fairbanks Sr. were reported to be forming a partnership between 'Albion Films Ltd.' and 'Douglas Fairbanks Productions Ltd.', to make a minimum of three films with a budget of $2,500,000. In addition to Monty, Baillie and Fairbanks, other key people involved were David O. Selznick, John Hay Whitney and George Archibald. [Source: 16 November Variety].

26 November?, Monty and Douglas Fairbanks Sr., set sail on the SS Normandie from New York to London. [Variety Daily 11 November, had said they would leave on 20 November and Variety Daily 17 November said Fairbanks would leave on 28 November ]

6 December, 'Fairbanks International' was announced in London. [source: 6 December cablegram from Selznick to Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Monty; 7 December London Evening Standard and Variety].

10 December, Monty sailed back to America for meetings on Fairbanks International.

? - 21st December, Monty was in Hollywood for meetings with David O Selznick and United Artists. [source: 21 December Variety]

? Monty, Stella, Pat, Kay and Heather spent some of the 1938/9 winter in Monte Carlo*. [source: family films*]

[note from Anthony Pettifer: need to cross check when since newspapers reported that Monty was in Hollywood most of December and January.]


1939 - Big plans for Fairbanks International. War. Death of Douglas Fairbanks Senior

January, Monty was in Hollywood preparing for the start of Fairbanks International operations (source: Variety International News, Motion Picture Daily)

28 January, Monty, Sir Adrian Baillie and Fairbanks were guests at a dinner in Hollywood attended by numerous other producers and stars.

Late February, 'Variety' reported that Monty would be back in Hollywood (from London) when "final details will be set forth for outfit's [Fairbanks International's] initial production for United Artists."

During the year plans for Fairbanks International films continued*.

[* note from Anthony Pettifer: I need to find out more on this, why no news after February?]

Stella's miniature of Lady Swan was exhibited at the Royal Academy. (source: Stella's note. ? but not found in Summer catalogue).

1 September, after its pact with Russia, Germany invaded Poland.

3 September, Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany. (On 5 September USA declared neutrality, on 10 September Canada declared war on Germany and on 17 September Russia invaded Poland.)

12 December, Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s sudden death of a heart attack aged 56, combined with the war, finally scuppered the plans of 'Fairbanks International'.

 After a miniature of Lady Swan by Stella Marks 1939. Copyright Stella Marks' Estate all rights reserved

After a miniature of Lady Swan by Stella Marks 1939. Copyright Stella Marks' Estate all rights reserved


1940 - Stella Marks exhibits at the Royal Academy of Arts

6 May to 10 August, two of Stella's miniatures were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts: Patricia and Miss Betty Ince.


1941 - Montagu Marks on undercover mission to Spain. Aileen O'Brien. Stella Marks miniatures of Mary Churchill and Winston Churchill

January, with the threat of Spain joining the Axis powers - or of a German invasion - taking Gibraltar and thus controlling the Mediterranean and North Africa, Monty flew to Spain via Lisbon for propaganda and other activities under cover of producing a film, 'Christopher Columbus'*.

[* note from Anthony Pettifer: according to my father, Monty worked with Sydney and Betty Box during the war. Based in London they made propaganda shorts for the British Government. Also, they produced the 1949 film 'Christopher Columbus'. But Monty was not involved with that production. It was not shot in Spain nor approved of by the Spanish Government.]

Monty was part of the British effort to keep Spain neutral. Earlier, the Ambassador, Sir Samuel Hoare, had suggested to Churchill that he ask Alexander Korda to recommend ways to spread the British viewpoint in Spain**. This is likely how Monty ended up in Spain.

[** source: Chapter 10, 'Franco's Friends' by Peter Day, published 2011.]

Monty had previously met Churchill through London Films. His links to Sir Robert Vansittart and the intriguing story behind the original financing of London Films, alluded to in Drazin biography of Korda, may have qualified him for the role. The fact that years earlier Monty had been a friend of Sidney Reilly may (or may not) have been a factor.

To help him in Spain the British Embassy's Press Attaché, Tom Burns, introduce him to a young Irish-American Catholic, Aileen O'Brien. As a devout Christian and charismatic advocate against communism, with a determination to make sure that Stalin style regimes would not succeed elsewhere, she actively supported the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War and thus became well connected with Franco's Government. She also opposed Nazi Germany, which she considered no better than the communists. She had useful access to high level anti-Axis circles in Spain and was also engaged to and after the war married Baron Felix von Vittinghoff-Schell, a Catholic German aristocrat who refused to fight for Hitler.

Monty worked with, and became close friends with, Hugh Ellis-Rees, Financial Advisor to the British Embassy (the Ministry of Economic Warfare's representative in Madrid). After the war, and in retirement, Alan Hillgarth visited Monty in London on numerous occasions. So it is clear that during the war Monty and the Naval Attaché were connected. In a letter written in 1964 to his relations, Chris and Rae Harris, Monty alluded to his activities: "we did 'funny' things for our Govt., which was acknowledged in a book written by the Chief of Staff". It is likely that Monty, as an "independent" film producer, was able to channel money for clandestine activities that the British Government did not want to be directly associated with*.

[*note from Anthony Pettifer: I have no evidence from my limited research to date, but it is possible that Monty was involved in some way with the SOE and 'Operation Reproach' -  the plan, masterminded by Alan Hillgarth, for anti-German Traditionalist in the military to oust Franco if he abandoned Spanish neutrality and allied with Hitler.]  

One of Monty's activities was to help arrange passage back to England for escaped Prisoners of War and Jews, who had made it over the Pyrenees to Spain. Another likely activity was filming the Mediterranean coast. However, using films to aid the propaganda effort was his most obvious task. 

During this time Monty converted to Roman Catholicism and remained devoted to the faith for the rest of his life.

Stella & Pat moved out of Hengrove, which was taken over by Government for war communications activity. Stella's address up to 1945 is Bacombe Rise, Wendover, Bucks.

Stella painted a portrait miniature of Sir Winston Churchill's youngest daughter, Mary Churchill (later Lady Soames), whom Pat met while both worked at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. (source 1 November 1941 Daily Telegraph and Morning Post). It is said Churchill always traveled with this miniature on his wartime journeys. (source: Finest Hour, Journal of the International Churchill Society, Summer 1986)

March and April, Stella painted a miniature portrait of Sir Winston Churchill (not from live sittings).

Stella's miniatures were shown at the Royal Academy. (? not found in Summer catalogue).

Summer, Pat joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry as an ambulance driver.

7 December, Pearl Harbour and America declared war on the Axis powers.

 Monty was sent under cover to spain in ww2

Monty was sent under cover to spain in ww2

 'Mary Churchill' after a portrait miniature by Stella Marks, 1941. Copyright Stella Marks' Estate all rights reserved.

'Mary Churchill' after a portrait miniature by Stella Marks, 1941. Copyright Stella Marks' Estate all rights reserved.

 Montagu Mark's Letter: ChuRchill, and we did 'Funny' Things For Our Govt. in Spain DurinG the last war.

Montagu Mark's Letter: ChuRchill, and we did 'Funny' Things For Our Govt. in Spain DurinG the last war.


1943 - Leslie Howard's visit to Spain and death. Stella Marks miniature stolen from the Royal Scottish Academy

Monty's address was Avda. Del Generalisimo, 9, Madrid.

1 June, actor Leslie Howard was tragically shot down by the Germans on a flight back to Britain following a propaganda visit to Spain and Portugal. Monty knew Leslie Howard well from London Films Productions. He played the title role in 'The Scarlett Pimpernel' and visited Hengrove a number of times before the war. In Spain he was mostly famous for his recent role as Ashley Wilkes in 'Gone with the Wind', produced by David O. Selznick. He, like Monty, was of Jewish decent and strongly anti-Nazi. He had produced and starred in the war propaganda films: 'Pimpernel Smith'*, about rescuing Jews from Germany, and his last film, 'The First of The Few', about the designer of the Spitfire, which was released in America just days after his own death.

[* Note: Monty was also a friend of Anatole de Grunwald, screenwriter for 'Pimpernel Smith' and 'The First of The Few'

18 June, Stella's portrait miniature of Miss Betty Ince of Melbourne was stolen from the Royal Scottish Academy. It was never found.

Stella had a studio at 18 The Bolton Studios, Gilston Rd. London SW10.

Monty was 'Production Manager' of a Spanish film comedy, 'Castillo de Naipes' (House of Cards), based on a story by Aileen O'Brien. Good cover for their real activities.

 Leslie Howard relaxing at Hengrove, home of Monty and Stella Marks (frame from pre-ww2 Family Film)

Leslie Howard relaxing at Hengrove, home of Monty and Stella Marks (frame from pre-ww2 Family Film)


1944 - Monty in the south of Spain

Monty spent the summer at a cottage, 'El Canuto', near Gibraltar.  


1945 - Kay Harrison celebrates V.E. Day with Monty in Madrid. Montagu Marks, Leslie Banks and Pat meet in Paris

8 May, Germany surrendered. Monty celebrated V.E. Day with his brother, Kay, in Madrid. Stella was in the UK and Pat in Brussels.

12 July, Pat flew from Paris to visit Monty in Madrid for a week.

9 - 12 August, Monty and Pat met again in Paris, together with the actor, Leslie Banks.


1946 - Monty returns to the UK. Monty and Stella visit Spain with Aileen O'Brien and Pat

February, Monty, Aileen O'Brien and Marita flew to the UK from Madrid. Stella had retaken Hengrove for Monty's arrival. Monty nearly killed himself and Aileen in a car crash while driving his Buick in snow.

 Pat & Stella with Aileen O'briEn in spain. Photo by monty

Pat & Stella with Aileen O'briEn in spain. Photo by monty

June to Nov?, Monty, Stella Pat and Aileen visited Spain and Gibraltar.

 Aileen O'Brien cleaning the silver at Hengrove 1946 (from Family Films)

Aileen O'Brien cleaning the silver at Hengrove 1946 (from Family Films)


1948 - Prince Philip commissions Stella Marks to paint a miniature of Princess Elizabeth for her 23rd birthday

January, Sir James Mann, Director of the Wallace Collection, wrote to Stella to visit her studio to check out her work since "he has been asked by a friend to recommend a painter of portrait miniatures." When he saw Stella's work he said "and I thought this was a lost art." As a result of Sir James Mann's recommendation Stella was commissioned by H.R.H. Prince Philip to paint a portrait miniature of H.R.H. The Princess Elizabeth, future H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, as a present on her 23rd birthday. (source: letters, 18 June 1949 The Australian Women's Weekly, 2 October 1950 The Londoner's Diary, January 1951 Woman's Journal, 5 January 1951 The Age, 29 November 1965 The Daily Telegraph, February 1967 Woman and Home, The BBC 16 December Nationwide)

February, Monty made a trip to Madrid and Dublin.

Early to mid-March Monty made a trip to Hollywood for meetings the John Ford and Merian C. Cooper of Argosy Pictures. He was appointed Argosy Pictures' London representative. [Source: 22 March 1948, Variety] 

12 July, Stella’s mother, Mary Lewis (nee Mary Sarah Fennell), died aged 93.

December, Stella's oil portrait of her friend the actress, Elena Miramova, was exhibited in the restored Royal Exchange, London (ref: The Times 14 December)


1949 - Another visit to Spain

August, Stella and Monty were in Spain.

Stella seemed to be living in London. (Redirected mail from Hengrove to The Studio, Melina Place, St Johns Wood).


1950 - Pat is married. Princess Elizabeth commissions Stella Marks to paint miniatures of Prince Philip and Prince Charles. Montague Marks sets up Film Locations Ltd. with Kay Harrison.

29 April, Pat married John Pettifer at St George's Hanover Square, London.

Stella was commissioned by H.R.H. The Princess Elizabeth to paint a portrait miniature of H.R.H. Prince Philip. (source: letters, 2 October 1950, The Londoner's Diary, 5 December 1950 The Yorkshire Evening Post

Stella was commissioned by H.R.H. The Princess Elizabeth to paint a portrait miniature of 2 year old H.R.H. The Prince Charles. (source: letters, 5 December 1950 The Yorkshire Evening Post, 5 January 1951 The Age, 29 April 1967 Woman's Weekly

November, Monty had set up his own production company, Film Locations Ltd., together with his brother, Kay, who continued to work as head of Technicolor's international operations and divided his time between America and Europe. There was a plan to make 'Rendezvous in Vienna' with The Nassour Bros and Paul Henreid [source: Boxoffice 11 November 1950 reported Monty was "head of British production firm, 'Film Locations'"]

In 1950 Aileen O'Brien married Felix Baron von Vittinghof-Schell


1951 - Forclosure

With his film enterprises stalling, Monty was in debt and was forced to sell Hengrove.

22 September, Monty and Stella's first grandson, Michael, was born.

December, Monty and Stella moved in to live with Pat and John at 27 Pembroke Gardens, Kensington, London.

 Stella Leaving hengrove photographed by Monty

Stella Leaving hengrove photographed by Monty


1952 - Queen Elizabeth II commissions Stella Marks to paint a miniature of Princess Anne. Ambitious plans for Film Locations. Mike Frankovich.

"Nothing is too big for us. Let us earn in the autumn of our lives what we have lost in the summer." - Montagu Marks letter to Kay Harrison, 1952

January, Monty was n Madrid setting up deals and financing for the Film Locations Ltd. production of 'Decameron Nights' (based on Boccaccio's stories). He had become involved with Mike Frankovich at the early stage of the latter's career as a producer. Frankovich was not at this time a shareholder of Film Locations Ltd., but a few years later was to take it over. He had met Monty since Mike's wife was the actress, Binnie Barnes.

6 February, H.M. King George VI died and H.R.H. The Princess Elizabeth became H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.

In March, Monty wrote to his brother: "Nothing is too big for us. Let us earn in the autumn of our lives what we have lost in the summer". He talked about the two brothers building something that would last - a legacy for their grandchildren. There were ambitious plans to produce 'Salammbo' (based on Flaubert's novel), 'Carmen' and a number of other films.

May, Stella and Monty were in Spain, where 'Decameron Nights' was being filmed. Stella painted a miniature of the actor Sir Godrey Tearle, as the character, 'Ricciardo', for a miniature worn by Joan Fontaine's 'Bartolomea' in the film. She also painted a portrait miniature of María del Carmen Franco y Polo, the Marquise of Villaverde (Franco's daughter).

August, Monty (due to Kay's Technicolor influence in India) got the western hemisphere and European distribution rights for the highly acclaimed 'Aan', India's first Technicolor film, starring Dilip Kumar, Nimmi and Prem Nath. It was at a party in Pembroke Gardens that Nimmi famously turned down Errol Flynn's advances towards her.

Stella was commissioned by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II to paint a portrait miniature of H.R.H. The Princess Anne. (source: letters, and 17 October 1952 Daily Express?)

 'Kay Harrison' after an oil portrait by Stella Marks. Copyright the artist all rights reserved.

'Kay Harrison' after an oil portrait by Stella Marks. Copyright the artist all rights reserved.


1953 - Stella Marks paints oil portraits of Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Film Locations produce 'Malaga' starring Maureen O'Hara. Stella Marks miniature of Maureen O'Hara

January/February, Stella was commissioned by Woman's Illustrated to paint a commemorative oil portrait of H.R.H. The Prince Charles.

April*, it was announced that Richard Sale under the banner of Film Locations Ltd. would produce 'Gentlemen Marry Brunettes' (a sequel to 'Gentlemen Prefer Blonds'). However, eventually the film was produced by Russ-Field Corp.

[* note from Anthony Pettifer: a few weeks earlier, on 16 March, Hollywood Reporter stated that Sale was to direct the film for Alexander Korda.]

August/September, Stella was commissioned by Woman's Journal and Woman's Pictorial to paint two commemorative oil portraits of H.R.H. The Princess Anne.

Oct 20, Film Locations Ltd. started production of 'Fire Over Africa'/'Malaga' starring Maureen O'Hara. The Director was Richard Sale and Vincent Korda was Art Director. According to notices, e.g. Variety 1953 November 13th (page 10), 20th (page 10) and 27th (page 10), Frankovich was billed as Producer and Montagu Marks and Colin Lesslie as Associate Producers of 'Fire Over Africa'. But, subsequently Monty's name has been omitted (e.g. on IMBD's website). Oddly Montagu Marks and Colin Lesslie were originaly billed as the Co-producer of Malaga (the name of the film in Britain and some other locations) with Frankovich omitted on early notices (see 1954 below). It seems that around this time Mike Frankovich was in the process of taking over control of Monty's company, Film Locations Ltd.

December, at 27 Pembroke Gardens Stella painted a portrait miniature of her and Monty's friend, Maureen O'Hara.

    Maureen O’Hara 1953. After a portrait miniature by Stella Marks. Copyright Stella Marks' Estate all rights reserved. 

 Maureen O’Hara 1953. After a portrait miniature by Stella Marks. Copyright Stella Marks' Estate all rights reserved. 

 Maureen O'Hara sitting for a portrait miniature by Stella Marks, at 27 Pembroke Gardens, London, 1953

Maureen O'Hara sitting for a portrait miniature by Stella Marks, at 27 Pembroke Gardens, London, 1953

 Maureen O'Hara looks at her portrait miniature painted by Stella Marks, at 27 Pembroke Gardens, London, 1953

Maureen O'Hara looks at her portrait miniature painted by Stella Marks, at 27 Pembroke Gardens, London, 1953


1954 - 'Malaga' distributed in the UK by British Lion Films

1 January, 'Malaga' was released in the UK, distributed by Sir Alexander Korda's British Lion Films. A notice on the 1 January in Monthly Film Bulletin (page 121) and a review on 24 July in Picturegoer (page 19) billed Montagu Marks and Colin Lesslie as Co-producers (with no mention of Frankovich).

16 March, Monty and Stella's second grandson, Anthony, was born.


1955 - Plans to produce 'Rendezvous in Vienna' with Paul Henreid and Ingrid Bergman

March, plans for an indie production of 'Rendezvous in Vienna' starring Paul Henreid and (possibly) Ingrid Bergman, co-produced by Henreid and Monty were announced (source: Variety 17 and 24 March 1955).  Ingrid Bergman had starred with Paul Henreid along with Humphrey Bogart in 'Casablanca'.


1956 - Sir Alexander Korda dies

23 January, Sir Alexander Korda died.

According to Tabori, Monty said "when Korda died, I died too." It was at this time that Monty started to reconsider what to do with the rest of his life.

5 February, Stella's 1948 portrait miniature of H.R.H. The Princess Elizabeth was featured on the front page of The Sunday Times to commemorate the 4th anniversary of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II accession. (source: 5 February The Sunday Times)

28 October, Monty and Stella's granddaughter, Annie, was born.

She was christened "Anne Maureen" after Maureen O'Hara.

 Alexander Korda portrait by Montagu Marks, circa 1954. Copyright Montagu Marks' Estate All Rights Reserved.

Alexander Korda portrait by Montagu Marks, circa 1954. Copyright Montagu Marks' Estate All Rights Reserved.


1957 - Stella Marks' miniature of Lady Swan at Paris Salon

Stella's miniature of Lady Swan received an Honorable Mentions at the Paris Salon Exhibition.


1958 - Montagu Marks paints Australians, Eileen Joyce and Michael Parker

Paying homage to two fellow Australians, Monty painted an oil of Eileen Joyce playing at The Royal Air Force 50 Anniversary Concert and a portrait of his friend Michael Parker, who had been The Duke of Edinburgh's Private Secretary.


1959 - Montagu Marks retires from the film business. Monty paints Maureen O'Hara. Move to 64 Addison Road.

Monty and Stella moved to 64 Addison Rd. Kensington, London. An important attribute was a large studio with a north facing light.

During his time at 27 Pembroke Gardens (1951 to 1959) Monty had attempted to make it big back into the film business.

  • Together with his brother his plans had been a co-production with Paul Henreid in a film co-starring Ingrid Bergman. Also productions of 'Salammbo' and 'Carmen'.
  • He was the western hemisphere distributor of India's first Technicolor film
  • He went into business with Mike Frankovitch.
  • He co-produced 'Decameron Nights' and 'Malaga'.
  • He used his connections in Spain to help facilitate locations for many other films. These included locations for the Battle of Bosworth in Laurence Olivier's and Korda's production of 'Richard III', and Robert Rossen's 'Alexander The Great'
  • In addition to Kay Harrison, Mike Frankovich, Binnie Barnes, Robert Rossen and Maureen O'Hara, others who Monty was dealing with while at Pembroke Gardens included: Errol Flynn, Peter Ustinov, Richard Burton, Joan Fontaine, Godfrey Tearle and Jill Bennett........

But, approaching 70 years old, Monty started to loose his vigour. In the end he turned back fully to his first love, painting.

 'Roses for maureen' a still life in oils by Montagu Marks, 1959. Copyright Montagu Marks' Estate All rights reserved.

'Roses for maureen' a still life in oils by Montagu Marks, 1959. Copyright Montagu Marks' Estate All rights reserved.

 A Portrait of Maureen O'Hara by montagu marks Ca 1959. Copyright Montagu Marks' Estate All rights reserved.

A Portrait of Maureen O'Hara by montagu marks Ca 1959. Copyright Montagu Marks' Estate All rights reserved.

 Maureen O'Hara with Monty and Stella's granddaughter, named 'Anne Maureen' (she is looking at dad). circa 1959. [Still from a family film]

Maureen O'Hara with Monty and Stella's granddaughter, named 'Anne Maureen' (she is looking at dad). circa 1959. [Still from a family film]

This video is about Maureen O'Hara, Montagu & Stella Marks

1961 - Monty exhibits in Germany

January, Monty's work was exhibited in Cologne.

 Monty at an exhibition of his paintings, Cologne January 1961

Monty at an exhibition of his paintings, Cologne January 1961


1962 - Monty exhibits in Ireland. Kay Harrison dies

17 to 27 July, Monty's paintings were exhibited in Dublin.

5 December, Monty's younger brother, Kay Harrison, died while attending Technicolor meetings in Hollywood.


1964 - Queen Elizabeth II commissons Stella Marks to paint a miniature of Prince Andrew

Stella was commissioned by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II to paint a portrait miniature of 4 year old H.R.H. The Prince Andrew. (source: letters, 19 November 1964 The Daily Express and 20 November 1964 The Times.)


1965 - Stella Marks 500th miniature

November, Stella completed her 500th miniature. (source: 29 November 1965 The Daily Telegraph)


1966 - Stella Marks paints 'miniature within a miniature' of Winston Churchill

October, Stella painted a 'Miniature within a Miniature' of Sir Winston Churchill. Featured in black & white on 19 October The Daily Telegraph (source: 19 October 1965 The Daily Telegraph)


1968 - Queen Elizabeth II commissions Stella Marks to paint a miniature of Prince Edward

Stella was commissioned by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II to paint a portrait miniature of H.R.H. The Prince Edward on his 4th Birthday.


1969 - Queen Elizabeth II commissions Stella Marks to paint a miniature of Prince Charles on his 21st Birthday

10 August, Monty was interviewed in the BBC Television documentary, The Golden Years of Alexander Korda.

Stella painted a portrait miniature of H.R.H. The Prince Charles on his 21st Birthday. It was his first portrait as The Prince of Wales. Completed 14 November. (source: 22 February 1970 The Cleveland Plain Dealer,  25 April 1970 Woman's Weekly, November 1970 The Field, January 1974 Point De Vue Images Du Monde )


1970 - Monty unwell

June, Monty, who was not in good health, visited Lourdes

6 July, Monty spent his 80th birthday at Schloss Kalbeck with his close friends Baron Felix and Aileen von Vittinghoff-Schell.


1972 - Queen Elizabeth II commissions Stella Marks to paint a miniature of Princess Anne on her 21st Birthday. Montagu Marks dies

Stella painted a portrait miniature of H.R.H. The Princess Anne on her 21st Birthday.

14 September, Monty died of a heart attack at Norton Court, Kent, England and is buried at Norton Church.

Stella's eyesight, which had been gradually deteriorating, was making painting, especially miniatures, more and more difficult.


1974 - Stella Marks interviewed on BBC Nationwide 1974

16 December, Stella was interviewed and a number of her miniatures shown on BBC One Television's news and current affairs program, Nationwide.


1976 - Stella Marks paints her final miniature of Queen Elizabeth II

October/November, aged of 89 years and with blindness relentlessly progressing Stella finished a portrait miniature which she had started in May of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. Her sight was so poor that her daughter Pat had to secretly help her finish it. The sittings were at Buckingham Palace.


1977 ?

Stella featured in the BBC arts program 'Arena' as "today's foremost miniature portrait painter". (I wish I could get a copy of this program. It no longer appears in the BBC archive) 


1978/9 - Stella awarded the MVO in the New Year's Honours

5 January, Stella received an Australian passport (in addition to her British one). She wanted to visit her homeland again and her relatives, especially her elder sister Eileen. Sadly she never did.

30 December, in recognition of her work, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II awarded Stella the Honour, Member of the Victorian Order. (source: The London Gazette 30 December 1978)

Stella was touched by many letters of congratulations and particularly one from the Parliament of Australia (24 January 1979).

 Stella Marks' Australian Passport, 1978

Stella Marks' Australian Passport, 1978

 Stella Marks' MVO, Awarded by Queen Elizabeth II, 30 December 1978

Stella Marks' MVO, Awarded by Queen Elizabeth II, 30 December 1978

 Stella congratulated from australia

Stella congratulated from australia


1980 - Stella Marks, nearly blind, resigns from the Royal Society of Miniature Painters

January, Stella resigned from Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Engravers, due to her now almost complete blindness. She was offered Honorary Retirement Membership. She moved to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Pat and John Pettifer, at Norton Court in Kent.


1985 - Stella Marks dies (a week before her 98th birthday)

18 November, Stella died in Kent, England. She is buried next to Monty at Norton Church. Their daughter, Pat, and son-in-law, John, are also now there.