To celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, the Imperial War Museum has opened a new exhibition charting the creation and legacy of James Bond...

"For Your Eyes Only" Exhibit Opens
22nd April 2008

"For Your Eyes Only - Ian Fleming and James Bond" - 17 April 2008 – 1 March 2009
To celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, Imperial War Museum London is producing the first major exhibition devoted to the life and work of the man who created the world’s most famous secret agent, James Bond. Featuring fascinating material, much on public display for the first time, For Your Eyes Only will look at the author and his fictional character in their historical context and examine how much of the Bond novels were imaginary and how far they were based on real people and events. This exhibition will explore the early life of Ian Fleming, his wartime career and work as a journalist and travel writer and how, as an author, he drew upon his own experiences to create the iconic character of James Bond that continues to have global appeal.

Above Left: Daniel Craig's blood-stained shirt from Casino Royale (2006). Casino Royale © 2006 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved. Above Right: Overcoat worn by Sean Connery in Dr No (1962). © 1962 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

On display will be rare material including Fleming’s desk and chair from his Jamaican home Goldeneye, where he wrote all of the Bond novels; a map of the Mercury News Network established by Ian Fleming in the 1950s showing where all Sunday Times foreign correspondents were based; the jacket worn by Fleming on the Dieppe Raid of 1942; a selection of annotated Bond manuscripts; the Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver presented to Fleming by the Colt company in 1964; the manuscript for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a working model of an Aston Martin DB5 made for HRH Prince Andrew in 1966, complete with gadgets from the films Thunderball and Goldfinger.

The ‘blood-splattered’ shirt worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale will be displayed for the first time along with prototypes for Rosa Klebb’s flick knife shoes in From Russia with Love; Halle Berry’s bikini from Die Another Day and Goldfinger’s golf shoes which have been lent by the EON Productions’ archive.

Above: Q's traveling case from A View To A Kill (1985) © 1985 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

For Your Eyes Only will show how Fleming’s wartime experiences informed the Bond plots and inspired many of the iconic heroes and villains, such as M and Goldfinger, and how the Cold War, a war of spies and technology, provided the stage in which Bond could operate.

The exhibition will examine to what extent the books and films reflect the reality of the Cold War and life in post-war Britain and how far they were a product of Fleming’s prodigious imagination. It will conclude with Fleming’s legacy, exploring how one man’s idea generated an entire industry, not only books and films, but also parodies, toys, games and clothes. Over fifty years after his first appearance in print, James Bond continues to exert a grip on the global imagination and Fleming remains a classic writer of his generation.

Above: Bomb from The World Is Not Enough (1999) © 1999 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

The official book to accompany the Imperial War Museum exhibition For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond will be published by Bloomsbury in April 2008. Written by the bestselling author of Costa shortlisted Agent Zigzag, Ben Macintyre, and full of lavish photography, this book is the perfect celebration of Ian Fleming and his remarkable creation, James Bond.

For You Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond is sponsored by Fleming Family & Partners. The exhibition is part of the Ian Fleming Centenary celebrations.

Adults £8.00, Concessions and Groups £7.00, Children £4.00, Family £19.00 (Groups prebooking essential on 020 7416 5439 or Imperial War Museum London, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ. 10.00am - 6.00pm. Enquiries 020 7416 5320/5321. Click here to visit the official event website.

Above: Spear gun from Thunderball (1965) © 1965 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

Related Articles
Ian Fleming Centenary