File NLW MS 21980C. - Augustus John letters,

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 21980C.

Title

Augustus John letters,

Date(s)

  • 1926-1952. (Creation)

Level of description

File

Extent and medium

20 ff. Guarded and filed.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Augustus Edwin John, artist, was born at Tenby in Pembrokeshire. He studied at the Slade School in London between 1894 and 1899. A diving accident in 1897 caused severe head injuries, affecting his personality and painting style. He married Ida Nettleship in 1901, and they had five children. At about the same time, he was appointed to teach art at the University of Liverpool, where he was taught the Romani language. Periods of travelling throughout England and Wales in a gypsy caravan inspired much of his work before World War 1. In 1902, he met Dorothy MacNeill, and gave her the Romani name Dorelia. She became his most important model and lifelong inspiration; she moved to Paris with Augustus's sister, the artist Gwen John, the following year. Augustus based himself mainly in Paris in 1906-1907. After Ida's death in 1907, Augustus and Dorelia married and had four children. His early period of work was characterised by drawings from life, notably of contemporaries including Ida and Dorelia and his sisters, as well as portraits in oils influenced by the Old Masters and an experimental series of etchings. He was elected President of the National Portrait Gallery in 1914. During World War I, he spent a brief time in France employed by the Canadian government as a war artist, and was official artist at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. After a period of painting ladscapes and employing a more modern impressionistic idiom, he became increasingly successful as a portait painter. His subjects included Thomas Hardy, T. E. Lawrence, George Bernard Shaw, and David Lloyd George. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1928, resigned in 1938, and was re-elected in 1940. He was elected President of the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art in 1934 and President of the Gypsy Lore Society in 1938. In 1942 he was awarded the Order of Merit for services to art. He died at Fryern Court, Hampshire, his home since 1927, in 1961.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

ff. 2-13; Sotheby's; London; Purchased at auction, lot 229; 8 December, 1983

ff. 14-20; Henry Bristow; Ringwood; Purchase; 1984

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Seventeen letters and one note, 1926-1952, from Augustus John, ten of them to Sean O'Casey (ff. 2-13) and the remainder to the journalist George Bilainkin. Those to Sean O'Casey contain mainly personal news, but refer also to O'Casey's work and to John's designs for the set of 'The Silver Tassie', staged in 1929 (ff. 4 verso, 6, 7). Extracts from them were published in Eileen O'Casey, Sean (London, 1971). The letters to Bilainkin (ff. 14-20) refer mainly to the latter's articles on John.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their readers' tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

English.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The contents of NLW MSS 21701-22852 are indexed in greater detail in Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, vol. 8 (Aberystwyth, 1999).

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

For the papers of Augustus John, see NLW MSS 22775-803.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Note

Title based on contents.

Note

Preferred citation: NLW MS 21980C.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number

vtls004265511

GEAC system control number

(WlAbNL)0000265511

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH.

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Sources

Accession area

Related subjects

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Text: NLW MS 21980C.