Lot 172
Sold for £ 2,160 (US$ 2,845) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Shavian miscellany, comprising autograph letters and cards (the majority signed “G. Bernard Shaw”), with a few typed, to: (i) Clement Shorter, editor of the Illustrated London News, suggesting an interview with Janet Achurch [for whom he wrote the title-role of Candida and refused to let anyone else play]: “It seems to me that it might be good business for ‘Sketch’ to interview her as to her now celebrated adventures in New York with Richard Mansfield over my play ‘Candida’” (24 June 1895); (ii) the editor of The Sketch: “[Frederick Henry] Evans, who is probably the best photographer in England, has just done a very fine photograph of me… If you would reproduce it full size & do full justice to its quality, no doubt I could persuade him to consent to hand it over for publication” (9 October 1896); (iii) C. Duncan Lucas, apologising for being elusive, through being “between an election and a series of rehearsals” (5 November 1900), torn; (iv) Francis Howard [Chairman of the National Portrait Society], expressing skepticism about an invitation: “I rather approve of any public demonstration of the essential identity of all the arts; but I suspect you of wanting to exploit me as a speaker at banquets (which I loathe) and all manner of responsibilities of that kind” (7 January 1908); (v) Mrs Girdlestone, regretting that he is too far out of the musical world to help: “If I were a violinist, I should get an intelligent dog to collect pence whilst I played in the streets” (12 March 1908); (vi) an unidentified correspondent, advising them on how to get a play performed, recommending that they eschew agents and join the Society of Authors instead, laid down (24 February 1910); (vii) Mrs O’Byrne, regretting that “I shall have to go to the workhouse instead, though I do not propose to establish myself there permanently as yet” and that he has “a long string of engagements as a public person which leaves the poor private man no chance”, the card stamped with a Sheldonian shamrock (3 October 1910); (viii) Beatrix, sending her £25 as a wedding present: “Spend it foolishly, as if you were a millionairess: otherwise it wont be a real present” (25 November 1912); (ix) “Dear Sirs”, giving guarded approval to his being mentioned in a book: “a mere indiscretion occurring in a book of indiscretions without my authorization would not worry me” (21 September 1923); (x) Maurice Baring, the author and friend of Chesterton, giving literary advice: “The play requires delicate casting and handling; and the chances of its getting either under the circumstances are very slender… On the whole I should send the play to G.K….” (30 April 1925); (xi) Mrs Aubrey le Blond (see above), apologising for being unable to welcome Henri Bernstein in person (6 April 1927), plus card; (xii) Dame Laurentia McLachlan OSB of Stanbrook Abbey [see The Nun, the Infidel & the Superman], sending greetings from Venice after his visit to the Holy Land and complaining that his camera “piously refused to work” (16 April 1931); (xiii) Dr McManus, launching into a trenchant diatribe on his health and that of [his cousin] Aida (11 May 1933); (xiv) the Gandhi disciple Hermann Kallenbach, thanking him a volume of Tolstoy (30 November 1936); (xv) the Rev George Naylor, regretting that he cannot take on an adoption as “There are too many refugees and widows about” (23 April 1939); (xvi) the Foreign Office, concerning Eden’s invitation to meet the Chinese Mission: “I was morally present, though as I am physically a dotard of 87, forbidden to venture out of doors after dark, I was invisible” (8 December 1943); (xvii) the journalist Clarence H. Norman [whom Shaw had employed to take shorthand reports of his speeches], on his wife’s death: “To become a widower is a curious experience; for it is only then that one discovers how much one’s life is governed by one’s wife, if the marriage is a success” (23 May 1948); (xviii) Dorothy Woodman, thanking her for the book but saying he does not like the pictures: “Ceylon made a great impression on me: I felt that here I had found the originals of the human race, all the other nations being mass-produced copies… I get nothing of this from [Lionel] Wendt, damn his eyes” (3 June 1950); plus: (xix) letters by his secretary Blanche Patch (“…Mr Bernard Shaw desires me to say that the idea of giving St Joan any specific local dialect proved impracticable. She speaks like any countrywoman, but not like any particular countrywoman…”); (xx) fragments (“…The great thing is not to bother with achieved work, but to write another. A few novels of mine made quite a little success last year in America. I wrote them in 1879-83, and no publisher would touch them! It’s the writing of them that makes a workman of the author. Their rejection only makes a fool of the publisher, which doesn’t matter…”); (xxi) a typed article-letter signed by Shaw, to the Editor of the Spectator, comparing the comparative wages of playwrights and programme-seller, marked up for publication, with an initialled autograph compliments-card (31 August 1925); (xxii) a pamphlet On Modern Composition reprinted by H.J.B. Craven from The Caxton Magazine, out-of-series copy, this copy signed by Shaw below the portrait frontispiece (1921), with a letter by Blanche Patch, stating that its issue was unauthorized (“…I remember that Mr Craven was told that he must withdraw it from circulation. I do not think it was issued for sale…”); and (xxiii) a typescript of Are the Sane Mad? A Play in Three Acts by T.P Hurley of Dublin, inscribed and initialled by Shaw on 8 June 1946 (“…This is very crude, in places almost childish. But the crudity and the childishness are dramatic; and I shall not be surprised if the author figures as a successful playwright within the next six years or so…”), some 25 items, dust-staining etc., but generally in good condition, 1895-1950


  • A FINE COLLECTION OF LETTERS AND CARDS BY SHAW, displaying characteristic pungency, pertinency, drollery and wit.
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