‘The Mezzotint’ by M.R. James

‘The Mezzotint’ was read to me on Friday November 21st 1980 when it was screened on BBC1 as part of a series called Spine Chillers; the performer was the actor Michael Bryant and the series was produced by the same team that made Jackanory. The literary and the uncanny were both well represented on TV in the 1970s and early 1980s, occasionally overlapping in strands like this one, the BBC Ghost Story for Christmas  adaptations of ‘A Warning to the Curious’, ‘The Signalman’ and so on, and portmanteau series such as Dead of Night and Tales of the Unexpected.

It was years before I read ‘The Mezzotint’ for myself because I had no idea who had written it or who M.R. James was; it remains my favourite of his stories.

First published in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Edward Arnold, 1904; Collected in Collected Ghost Stories, Edward Arnold, 1931 and widely available, including in Ghost Stories  by M.R. James, Penguin English Library, 2018, and online here