Item NLW MS 23699E, f. 99. - David jones letter to Saunders Lewis,

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 23699E, f. 99.

Title

David jones letter to Saunders Lewis,

Date(s)

  • 1954 (Creation)

Level of description

Item

Extent and medium

1 f.

Encapsulated in a melinex sleeve at NLW.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

David Jones (1895-1974) was an accomplished artist who produced watercolours, illustrations and inscriptions, and who also gained acclaim as a poet, especially as the author of In Parenthesis in 1937, and the long prose poem The Anathemata in 1952.
David Walter Jones was born in Brockley, Kent, on 1 November 1895. His mother, Alice Ann née Bradshaw, was from London, and his father, James Jones, was originally from Holywell, Flintshire. He attended the Camberwell School of Art from 1910-1914, and the Westminster School of Art from 1919-1921.
He joined the London Welsh Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in 1915 and served as a private with them until 1918. This experience had a profound effect on him, and his first book, In Parenthesis (1937), is an epic war poem which deals with the period he spent in France.
In 1921 he was received into the Roman Catholic Church, adopting Michael as a middle name. This was a defining moment in his life and work. In the same year he met Eric Gill and joined Gill's community at Ditchling, Sussex, where he learnt wood-engraving. In 1924 he became engaged to Petra Gill and often visited the family at Capel y ffin, near Abergavenny. His engagement with Petra was broken off in 1927 and subsequently he never married.
Between 1928 and 1932 he moved around a great deal, producing watercolours and also writing. In 1933 he suffered a breakdown in health and endured repeated periods of ill-health from then onwards. He virtually stopped painting until 1937. In 1937 Faber published In Parenthesis, which T. S. Eliot regarded as 'a work of genius'. He was awarded the Hawthornden prize for it in 1938.
He was based at the parental home at Brockley until his mother's death in 1937. He then lived in Notting Hill, and from about 1946 lived in Harrow on the Hill. In 1970 he fell ill after breaking a bone in his hip and resided at Calvary Nursing Home, Harrow until his death in 1974.
A volume of essays Epoch and Artist was published by Faber in 1959, followed by The Fatigue (1965), The Tribune's Visitations (1969) and The Introduction to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1972). The Sleeping Lord (1974) and The Roman Quarry (1981) were published posthumously.
In 1955 he was awarded the CBE, and also the Harriet Monroe memorial prize. In 1960 he was awarded the degree of D. Litt from The University of Wales and became both Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1961. He was awarded the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold medal in 1964 and the Welsh Arts Council Literature Prize in 1969.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Saunders Lewis, dramatist, poet, historian and literary critic, was born in Wallasey, Cheshire to a family of prominent Welsh Calvinistic Methodists. He was educated at a boys's school in Liscard and at Liverpool University, where he studied English and French. His academic career was interrupted by the First World War, in which Lewis served with the South Wales Borderers, but he quickly resumed his studies at the end of the conflict, and, having graduated, worked as librarian in Glamorgan before taking up a post as lecturer in the Welsh department of the University College of Swansea. In 1925, Lewis was one of the pioneering figures involved in establishing the National Party of Wales (later known as Plaid Cymru) and was made President of the fledgeling organisation the following year. Having written about the Roman Catholic church for a number of years, in 1932 Lewis converted to the faith also practised by his wife Margaret. In 1936, Lewis, D. J. Williams and Lewis Valentine set fire to the Royal Airforce's Bombing School in Penyberth on the Lleyn Peninsula, an event which has gone down in the annals of Welsh history and which earned Lewis imprisonment in Wormwood Scrubs and dismissal from his lecturing post in Swansea. He was eventually appointed senior lecturer in Welsh at the University of Cardiff but retired in 1957 to devote his time to writing. Lewis's litarary output is prodigious and he is considered by many to be the most important Welsh literary and political figure of the twentieth century; it is considered that his radio address for 1962, Tynged yr Iaith, was the direct instigating force behind the establishment of the Welsh language movement Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Mrs Mair Saunders Jones (Saunders Lewis's daughter); Llandysul; Purchase; May 1999; B1999/14.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

A letter, November 1954 (dated 'Calan Gaeaf MCMLIV' [1 November 1954] but completed at a later date), and decorated with a coloured inscription, from the artist and writer David Jones to the dramatist, poet and critic Saunders Lewis.
The letter contains personal news and refers to the Lewis's contribution to a radio broadcast about David Jones transmitted on the Welsh Home Service, 29 October 1954 (see NLW, Alun Oldfield-Davies Papers 27 for a copy of the script).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding the ownership of David Jones copyright can be found at http://tyler.hrc.utexas.edu/ (viewed June 2009).

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, calligraphic inscription in Welsh.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

For other letters from David Jones to Saunders Lewis see NLW MS 22724E; for the other side of the correspondence see NLW, David Jones (Artist and Writer) Papers, CT1/4.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Note

Title based on contents.

Note

Preferred citation: NLW MS 23699E, f. 99.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number

vtls004034809

GEAC system control number

(WlAbNL)0000034809

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

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Script(s)

Sources

Accession area

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Physical storage

  • Text: NLW MS 23699E, f. 99.