• ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image
  • ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934).  A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between... Image

Lot 712

ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934). A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between...

ELGAR, Edward, Sir (1857-1934). A series of eight autograph letters, signed, written between 28th October 1932 and 25th August 1933 to the soprano Doris Johnson. "BELIEVE ME TO BE YOUR SLAVE ALSO ..." THE GREAT COMPOSER, NEARING THE END OF HIS LIFE, ENTERS INTO A PLAYFUL AND AFFECTIONATE CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE SOPRANO DORIS JOHNSON. The subjects of the letters, which are newly-discovered and unpublished, include social arrangements, the composer's flight to Paris, trips to Manchester, a comment on a performance of his [?second] symphony from the Queen's Hall, views of Spain, and several references to Marco and Mina, his beloved dogs (one of the composer's last pieces, partly orchestrated on his deathbed in 1934, was 'Mina for Small Orchestra'). The letters comprise, in chronological order: 1) two-pages, 21-lines, on paper headed 'Marl Bank, Worcester,' dated "28th October 1932", stating, "My dear Miss Johnson: I've made a very quick journey to Worcester to send most hearty thanks for the kindest & sweetest hospitality I have ever experienced. Thank you sincerely for my kind care. Marco is very pleased with his [?]ball and sends his respects to [?]Sandy: to these please add my kind regards to your sisters and brother. My love to you and that marvellous dress, Believe me to be yours sincerely, Edward Elgar"; with the original envelope addressed, in Elgar's hand, to "Miss Doris Johnson, The Upper House, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent," postmarked Worcester, 4 Nov, 1932, and with Elgar's ("E.E.") black wax seal (broken) on verso; 2) one-page, 12-lines, on paper headed 'The Worcestershire Club, Worcester,' dated "8th November 1932," stating, "Dear Miss Johnson, Many thanks for the news of [illegible word] paragraph about the wireless. If you wish please come round to the Artists' room at Manchester, Yours very sincerely, Edward Elgar"; 3) one-page, on paper headed 'From Sir Edward Elgar, Bt., O.M., K.C.V.O., Master of the King's Musick; Lord Chamberlain's Office, St. James's Palace, London, S.W.1.', dated "Worcester, 23rd December, '32", stating, "Your Christmas greeting to Marco & his slave (me) is so charming that I must be allowed to send thanks for it, Believe me to be your slave also, Edward Elgar"; 4) one-page, 10-lines, on paper blind-stamped, 'Marl Bank, Worcester,' dated "16th January 1933," stating, "My dear Miss Johnson, it is most kind of you to think of luncheon but I have to travel from London to Manchester. I am looking forward very much to seeing you again. With kindest regards, from very sincerely, Edward Elgar"; 5) 2-pages, 22-lines, on paper headed "Marl Bank, Worcester," dated "29th January, 1933", stating, "I found, as I feared, a great accumulation [illegible words]. I hasten to send this thanks to you for making my journey to Manchester and back possible, and for converting what promised to be a dismal affair into a most pleasant expedition ... Marco & Mina, who are both well now, gave me a wild greeting - I wish their rabitting holiday were possible, with kindest regards to your [illegible word] and to you especially, yours very sincerely, Edward Elgar"; 6) 2-pages (small hole touching letters), 27-lines, on un-headed paper, dated "Worcester, 17th April, 1933," stating, "I was delighted and uplifted by your card which you most kindly sent from Spain. I hope you and your party had a very enjoyable tour. I always [illegible word] of Spain with the [illegible word] thought ... The next best thing is to hear from firends their experiences ... I hope your friend Sandy (is that right?) [illegible word] & welcoming ... on your return you will find England looking its best to greet you, with kindest regards & the dogs' love, in which I [?]just [?]live ..."; 7) 3-pages, on paper headed 'Marl Bank, Worcester', dated "11th June 1933," stating, "My dear Miss Johnson: It was most kind of you to write: I have been overwhelmed with silly business things & a vast accumulation of letters & I should have thanked you at once. I hope you are back & that you [illegible word] have the happiest memories of Spain ..."; 8) 2-pages, on paper headed 'Marl Bank, Worcester', dated "25th Aug 1933", stating, "... The summer has passed away without

my having the opportunity to pay you the visit you so kindly suggested: it has been a wonderful time but I cannot stand heat & have had to rest occasionally. I fear your garden must be burnt as mine is, it is a wreck. I trust Sandy is back: my companions have been tolerably well & now the cooler weather has come are quite normal ... I hope you heard the Symphony last Thursday from Queen's Hall. I wish I hadn't conducted 'K. Olaf' again at Hanley, but I see no chance of getting near Stoke until I go to the Hallé concert in February ... Please give my kind regards to your sister & brother & some special ones to your self, Believe me to be, yours very sincerely, Edward Elgar." The eighth letter was apparently the last Elgar wrote to Doris Johnson. Inoperable bowel cancer was diagnosed in October 1933 and Elgar would die from it in February of the following year. Of Doris Johnson, little is known. She was born in 1889, making her 44 or 45-years-old when she received these letters (Elgar was 75 or 76). She lived at Upper House, Barlaston, in Staffordshire. The house was built in 1845 for Josiah Wedgwood's grandson Francis. This was fitting since Doris's father was Henry James Johnson, one of the four 'Johnson Brothers' who founded the pottery works of the same name and which later became part of Wedgwood. Doris was a soprano and a patron of the North Staffordshire Choral Society and it is very likely that she met Elgar through her involvement with this society. Throughout the letters the tension between formality ("Dear Miss Johnson") and deeper expressions of sentiment - a symptom, perhaps, as much of their times as the age difference between them - are probably more evident to a modern sensibility than they would have been to a contemporary one. Provenance: The letters were left by Doris to her friend Miss Elsie Thurston, and thence by descent to the present owner. Elsie Thurston, who was born in 1891, was a soprano tutor at the then Royal Manchester College of Music at the time Adolf Brodsky was the Principal, the latter being acquainted with Elgar. (8)