File NLW MS 22022C. - Augustus John letters,

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 22022C.

Title

Augustus John letters,

Date(s)

  • 1941-1969 (Creation)

Level of description

File

Extent and medium

16 ff.

Guarded and filed.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Michael Holroyd is a well-known biographer and writer. He was born 27 August 1935 in London to Basil Holroyd and his Swedish wife Ulla (née Hall). He received his education at Eton College and Maidenhead Public Library. In 1982 he married the writer Margaret Drabble and they live in London and Somerset. He was Chairman of the Society of Authors, 1973-1974, President of English PEN from 1985 to 1988, and Chairman of the Strachey Trust between 1900 and 1995. In 1988 he was awarded the Irish Life Arts Award and the CBE in 1989 for services to literature. A former member of the Arts Council he lectures around the world on behalf of the British Council and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. The universities of Ulster, Sheffield, Warwick, East Anglia and the London School of Economics have presented him with honorary degrees.
Michael Holroyd is the biographer of Hugh Kingsmill, Lytton Strachey, Augustus John and Bernard Shaw, and in 2002 a selection of his writings relating to biography and autobiography was published under the title Works on Paper: The Craft of Biography and Autobiography. The film 'Carrington' is based on Lytton Strachey and won awards at Cannes. His novel A Dog's Life was published in the USA in 1969 and in 1973 his volume of essays Unreceived Opinions was published. Michael Holroyd has also written various radio and television scripts. In 1999 his autobiography Basil Street Blues was published.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Augustus Edwin John, artist, was born at Tenby, Pembrokeshire, on 4 January 1878. He studied at the Slade School in London between 1894 and 1899. A diving accident in 1897 caused severe head injuries, reputedly 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, giving 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, Dorelia became John's partner (they never formally married). They had four children together, both before and after Ida's death. 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 1 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 landscapes and employing a more modern impressionistic idiom, he became increasingly successful as a portrait 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

Phillips; London; Purchased at auction, lot 759; 1984

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Three letters and a card, 1941-1958, from Augustus John to his son-in-law, Villiers Bergne, together with five letters and cards, 1968-1969, to Bergne from Michael Holroyd concerning the latter's biography of Augustus 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

Twelve photographs of Augustus John and his family, included with the letters, have been transferred to the Department of Pictures and Maps (PE 3597-608). 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 22022C.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number

vtls004262762

GEAC system control number

(WlAbNL)0000262762

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 22022C.