20 June 2017

Agatha Christie: A Life in Photographs opens at National Museum Cardiff

Agatha Christie aged 77

Agatha aged 77

 by The Christie Archive Trust

She’s the best-selling writer of all time, with 66 novels and 150 short stories to her name. She also wrote more than 20 plays, including The Mousetrap, the world’s longest-running production (it’s been going for an incredible 64 years). Now a new exhibition featuring rarely seen pictures from the writer’s personal collection shows a different side of the legendary Queen of Crime.

Running from 17 June to 3 September at National Museum Cardiff, Agatha Christie: A Life in Photographs will give fans a peek into what the prolific author got up to when she wasn’t writing some of crime fiction’s most famous stories. What you see may surprise you. Among the collection are shots of a young Agatha surfing on Muizenberg beach in South Africa and speeding along Torquay Pier on a pair of roller-skates. It’s a far cry from the traditional Miss Marple-like image that many people have of the author. 

Alongside each image are quotes from the great writer herself, taken from both published work and private correspondence. These range right through her life, from early childhood to her time as one of the world’s most famous authors. They provide fascinating snapshots of the woman behind unforgettable stories like Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None and Death on the Nile.  
Agatha at a dance class in Torquay circa 1904

Agatha (in the middle) at dance class in Torquay circa 1904

 by The Christie Archive Trust

Legendary connections

It’s the perfect timing for this exhibition to roll into the Welsh capital. Throughout 2017, we’re celebrating our Year of Legends. Who could be more legendary than the creator of immortal characters like Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple? There’s even a local connection. Agatha’s only daughter married a Welshman (an excellent choice) and lived at a house called Pwllywrach just outside Cardiff. Agatha was a frequent visitor and a photo album of her time at the house can be seen at the new exhibition.

Agatha’s only grandson Mathew Pritchard was raised at Pwllywrach. He now looks after the Agatha Christie Archive. “My family and I are delighted to share some of our favourite images and quotations of my grandmother Agatha Christie with you,” he said. “As well as being a marvellous author she was a remarkable person who made an indelible impression on everyone she met.”

Christie’s Welsh visits even influenced her work. Her 1967 story Endless Night was set on a road outside Cardiff and was inspired by a local legend Agatha heard from her daughter’s mother-in-law, Nora Pritchard. You’ll see a first edition of the book on display at the exhibition.

Where and when 

If all this has piqued your curiosity, get along to the Agatha Christie: A Life in Photographs at National Museum Cardiff while you can. The exhibition is open between 10am and 4pm every day apart from Mondays (with the exception of Bank Holidays) until 3 September 2017. Best of all, entry is absolutely free. 

It’s just one of hundreds of things happening here in Wales over the summer. Head over to What’s on in Wales to find out about more things to see and do.