File NLW MS 24065E. - Brenda Chamberlain papers

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 24065E.


Brenda Chamberlain papers


  • [1950s]-2013 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

22 ff.

Placed in melinex sleeves within ringed box at NLW.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Writer and artist Brenda Chamberlain (1912-1971) was born and raised in Bangor, Caernarfonshire, and educated privately before embarking on her art studies at the Royal Academy, London in 1931. In 1935 Chamberlain married the artist John Petts. The following year the couple moved to Llanllechid, where they set up the Caseg Press, producing postcards and bookplates, and also the Caseg Broadsheets - featuring poetry by Chamberlain and others - with the poet and writer Alun Lewis. Chamberlain's marriage to Petts ended in 1946. Thereafter she lived briefly in Germany before settling on Bardsey Island, where she wrote and painted until, in 1961, she moved to the Greek island of Idhra. In 1967 Chamberlain returned to Bangor, where she died in 1971. Amongst Chamberlain's major published works are the poetic anthology The Green Heart (London, 1958) (dedicated to Karl von Laer), Tide-Race (London, 1962), an account of her life on Bardsey, her only novel The Water Castle (London, 1964), A Rope of Vines (London, 1965), chronicling her time on Ydra, Poems With Drawings (London, 1969), and Alun Lewis and the Making of the Caseg Broadsheets (London, 1969).

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Mr Peter Lockyer; Coventry; Purchase; July 2014; 006765541.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

A collection of papers, [1950s]-2013, relating to Brenda Chamberlain, comprising three letters, 1955-[?1964], from Chamberlain on Bardsey Island and Ydra, Greece, to her friend Henry [Mitchell], concerning personal news and her work (ff. 1-6), together with one letter, 27 September 1971, from Joan Rees, Bangor, to Mitchell, belatedly informing him of Chamberlain's death (ff. 7-8); and manuscript fair copies, probably in Chamberlain's hand, [?1950s], of four poems, 'Endymion's Sleep', 'Midwinter', 'Islandman' and 'What the old man said' (ff. 9-13).
The letters discuss Chamberlain's painting 'The Acrobats at Practice', then recently purchased by Mitchell (ff. 1-2 verso), and a funeral on Ydra (ff. 3-4). A version of 'Islandman' was published in The Green Heart (London, 1958), p. 27; drafts of 'Midwinter' are NLW MS 21508B, ff. 1-6. Also included are newsletters, 2011-2013, of Cyfeillion Murluniau Brenda Chamberlain ar Enlli / The Friends of the Brenda Chamberlain Bardsey Murals (ff. 15-22) and a cutting from The Times, 21 September 1955, p. 3 (f. 14).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged at NLW as follows: letters; poems; printed matter.

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 set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding the ownership of Brenda Chamberlain copyright can be found at (viewed October 2014).

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

See also NLW, Brenda Chamberlain manuscripts.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 24065E.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


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

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


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

October 2014.


  • English



Archivist's note

Description compiled by Rhys Morgan Jones.

Accession area