ANW logo

Archives Network Wales

Search the collections:        Search help | Advanced search   | Browse by repository

Browse the indices: Combined(searchable) Personal names Corporate names Places Subjects



[New to Archives?]

[Family history]

[Admin menu]

List of repositories  |  List of collections at National Library of Wales  |  Repository home page  |  Contact details

National Library of Wales
Holroyd, Michael, Augustus and Gwen John manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSMICHOLJOHN

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Michael Holroyd (Augustus and Gwen John) Manuscripts

Short Title: Holroyd, Michael, Augustus and Gwen John manuscripts

Creation date(s): [1904]-[?1970s]

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 7 volumes

Name of creator(s): Augustus John; Gwen John


Administrative/Biographical history: Gwendolen Mary John (Gwen John) (1876-1939), artist, was born on 22 June 1876 in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, to Edwin and Augusta John. She attended the Slade School of Fine Art, London, from 1895 to 1898. In 1904 she settled in Paris, moving to the suburb of Meudon in 1911. From 1911 until his death the American lawyer and art collector John Quinn (1870-1924) became a patron of her work. In 1920 John became friends with Quinn's companion Jeanne Robert Foster (1879-1970). Gwen John died in Dieppe, France, on 18 September 1939.
Gwen John's younger brother, Augustus Edwin John (1878-1961), artist, was born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, and became a leading British portrait painter. His marriage to Ida Nettleship (1877-1907) produced five children. Dorothy McNeill (1881-1969), his mistress and, following Ida's death, his common-law wife, gave him a further four children. The family settled at Alderney Manor, Dorset, and from 1927 at Fryern Court, Fordingbridge, Hampshire. Augustus died there on 31 October 1961.
Michael Holroyd, biographer and writer, was born on 27 August 1935 in London to Basil and Ulla Holroyd and was educated at Eton College. He has produced biographies of Hugh Kingsmill, Lytton Strachey and George Bernard Shaw as well as Augustus John: A Biography (London, 1974-5) and Augustus John: The New Biography (London, 1996). He married the writer Margaret Drabble in 1982, was awarded the CBE in 1989 and was knighted in 2007.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers, [1904]-[?1970s], relating to Augustus and Gwen John collected by Michael Holroyd, including letters by Gwen John and Jeanne Robert Foster, 1920-1925; letters from Augustus John to various correspondents, [1904]-1958, and letters addressed to him, [1910]-1959; Augustus John's appointment diaries, [1921], 1923, 1934 and 1939; and typescript transcripts and notes [?by Michael Holroyd], [?1970s].


Language/scripts of material: English, some Romani.

System of arrangement: Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 23850-23856.

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 ownership of Augustus John, Gwen John and Michael Holroyd copyright can be found at (viewed January 2012).

Finding aids:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records have been retained

Accruals: Accruals are possible

Archival history: Accumulated by Michael Holroyd whilst preparing his biography, Augustus John: A Biography (London, 1974-5), Augustus John: The New Biography (London, 1996), and related projects.

Immediate source of acquisition: Purchased from Bernard Quaritch Ltd, London (acting on behalf of Michael Holroyd), July 2000 (B2000/20).


Existence and location of copies: Copies of parts of NLW MSS 23850-1 are London, Tate Gallery Archive, TAM 21C (microfiche).

Related material: The main archive of Michael Holroyd's papers relating to Augustus John, purchased with the present manuscripts, is now NLW, Michael Holroyd (Augustus John) Research Papers; the main groups of Augustus and Gwen John manuscripts at NLW are NLW, Augustus John Papers and NLW, Gwen John Manuscripts.

Publication note: Michael Holroyd, Augustus John: A Biography (London, 1974-5); Michael Holroyd, Augustus John: The New Biography (London, 1996); Sue Roe, Gwen John: A Life (London, 2001).


Note: Title based on contents.

Archivist's note: Description revised by Rhys Morgan Jones. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Augustus John: The New Biography (London, 1996); Sue Roe, Gwen John: A Life (London, 2001); Cecily Langdale, 'John, Gwendolen Mary (1876-1939)', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004 [viewed 6 February 2012]; Michael Holroyd, 'John, Augustus Edwin (1878-1961)', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, May 2006 [viewed 6 February 2012].

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

Date(s) of descriptions: February 2012

Holroyd, Michael | Archives
John, Augustus, | 1878-1961 | Correspondence
John, Augustus, | 1878-1961 | Diaries
John, Gwen, | 1876-1939 | Correspondence

Personal names
Holroyd , Michael
John , Augustus , 1878-1961
John , Gwen , 1876-1939

Corporate names


List of repositories  |  List of collections at National Library of Wales  |  Repository home page  |  Contact details