To celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth the Imperial War Museum is staging 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 looks 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.
On display will be rare material including a map of the Mercury News Network established by Ian Fleming in the 1950s showing where all Sunday Times foreign correspondents were based; notes for the Thrilling Cities series; research notes for From Russia With Love written in Istanbul; a selection of annotated Bond manuscripts; the Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver presented to Fleming by the Colt company in 1964 and the manuscript for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The 'blood-splattered' shirt worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale will be displayed for the first time along with prototypes of 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 loaned by the EON Productions' archive.
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.