SUTHERLAND (GRAHAM) Series of 52 letter concerning his Great Tapestry for Coventry Cathedral, 1950-1970
Lot 147
SUTHERLAND (GRAHAM) Series of 52 letter concerning his Great Tapestry for Coventry Cathedral, 1950-1970
Sold for £1,875 (US$ 3,009) inc. premium

Lot Details
SUTHERLAND (GRAHAM)
Series of 52 letters concerning his Great Tapestry for Coventry Cathedral, particularly the production of the book about it, comprising 42 autograph letters signed including a few postcards ('Graham' and 'G'), an incomplete autograph letter marked 'Confidential', 10 typed letters signed, together with 32 autograph letters and cards signed by his wife Katherine Sutherland ('K', 'Kathy', 'Katherine'), mostly to Andrew Revai, but occasionally to his friend Robin Chancellor, or both of them, largely concerning the details of their collaboration over and the production of the book Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph: The Genesis of the Great Tapestry in Coventry Cathedral, 1964, including a rehearsal of the whole history and background of it, with references to his antipathy to Sir John Rothenstein's involvement as advisory editor, the possibility of engaging Kenneth Clark in some way, his portrait of Churchill, his views about Picasso ('...it does confirm - if confirmation was needed - his great genius - always to acutely aware of the multitude of demands of a work of art & able to bridge the gap between intimacy & grandeur...'), dealings with Douglas Cooper over the book, the possibility of a serialisation in the Sunday Times, problems with lithographs, and giving his critical reaction to the book on its publication; there is also an important account of his difficulties in 1962 with the authorities at Coventry Cathedral about the final stages of the production of the tapestry and an autograph list of a number of his paintings with details of their ownership, Graham Sutherland's letters c.130 pages, mostly 8vo, and with a few other pieces including typescripts of two long letters by Revai; White House, Trottiscliffe, West Malling, Kent, La Villa Blanche, Menton, and Hotel Cipriani, Venice, 1950-1970, mostly 1950s and 1960s

Footnotes

  • Christ in Glory, Sutherland's 70 x 39 foot tapestry for the new Coventry Cathedral, which took over ten years for the weavers, Pinton Freres at Felletin in central France, to make, remains the most controversial as well as the largest item in the rebuilt Cathedral.

    '...I have been thinking over the points you raise with regard to the making of a reproduction or reproductions. The facts are as follows:

    [a)] it will not be possible to photograph the actual tapestry until it is installed in the Cathedral. I am having (& I tell you this in the strictest confidence) difficulties with the Reconstruction Committee. I am being denied the right, written into my contract, of seeing the tapestry hung before it leaves France. This is causing me a good deal of worry, as I have not, for technical reasons, been able to see more than 1 foot in height during the weaving. As I have made several "redification" while the weaving has been going on this is a blow to me. It seems that no time has been arranged or allowed for the work to be hung & there were difficulties, too, in finding a building large enough in which to hang it. Andre Malraux [the French Minister of Culture] offered officially the Sainte Chapelle for about 10 days now for me to see it, & for a limited public to be admitted. The authorities got wind of this offer & forestalled it by utterly refusing to consider any form of public exhibition. You could, of course, easily have had your cards done then! Now I am offered a floor & a ladder which I know by experience is totally ineffective from the point of view of seeing.

    b) I think the copyright of the tapestry belongs to the Cathedral: but I will find out I must have been mad. They bumped the price at my request from £2000 to £4000 & I can only believe I was so p-leased that I agreed to waive the copyright! All this for 10 years work!

    c) With regard to the cartoon. I doubt if now you could make a good reproduction from this. It has been drawn over with innumerable fine lines in black & white to help the weavers - by me & by them.

    d) The first cartoon version. I am rather averse to reproducing from this...'
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