Images courtesy of the Kathleen Ferrier Archive.
In September 1955, Winifred Margaret Ferrier (1912-1995) sought an interim injunction restraining the publishers Robert Hale Ltd., from copyright infringement concerning the forthcoming publication of an unauthorised biography of her sister, Kathleen Ferrier (1912-1953). The biography had just been finished by Charles Rigby, a prolific journalist who had previously written books on musical figures such as Sir John Barbirolli and Sir Charles Hallé. The case was peculiar due to the contingent circumstances affecting the motion. First, Charles Rigby died a few months before the case started. Secondly, Winifred Margaret was preparing an official biography that was also published in 1955. Two different items were specified as instances of copyright infringement in the unofficial biography: some letters and an article written by Kathleen Ferrier for her old school magazine, the Blackburn Girls’ School Magazine. On September 21, 1955, Ashworth J granted an ex parte injunction (The Times, 22 Sept 1955, p 13B), which was continued by Gerrard J (The Times, Sept 29, 1955) and Wynn Parry J (The Times, Oct 5, 1955, p. 11). Ultimately, the case settled. (The Times, Oct 26, 1955, p. 12)
Here we include a copy of the article she wrote and a couple of pictures from the controversial book. These specific images of the book show the impact of the terms of the settlement reached after the injunction (and approved by Wynn Parry J). Robert Hale Ltd agreed not to sell copies that had already printed until 1956 (thus giving Ferrier’s biography a substantial head start) not to print more copies and to include a slip note mentioning the “errors of fact” contained in the unauthorised biography