ELGAR (EDWARD) Collection of autograph music, inscribed scores and other mementos of his relationship with Vera Hockman, including the two first sketch-leaves for his unfinished Third Symphony, inscribed for her

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 226

Sold for £ 22,500 (US$ 30,915) inc. premium
Collection of autograph music, inscribed scores and other mementos of his relationship with Vera Hockman, including the two first sketch-leaves for his unfinished Third Symphony, inscribed for her; the collection comprising:
(i) First and last sketch-leaves for his unfinished Third Symphony, given by him to Vera Hockman, the first headed in blue crayon "SYM 3" and in the right-hand margin "1st Mt", scored in ink and pencil on paper previously marked up for other use, inscribed by Elgar in Pencil: "1st Sketch of VH's own theme above/ Edward Elgar" and alongside this "(Will never be finished?)"; the second leaf scored entirely in pencil, inscribed by Elgar in ink: "(First thought for Sym. III and last thought for V.H.) Jany. 1933 EE/ or rather 32st Decr 1932", the page – as usual with Elgar sketch-leaves – being marked through with a "K" to denote transcription, 2 pages, both leaves somewhat foxed and worn where folded, the first with a piece torn from the upper edge, the second with an irregular torn upper edge (possibly thus before Elgar put it to its present use), the first repaired on the reverse with adhesive tape but with no staining yet showing-through, 4to, 1932
(ii) Printed Novello score of The Music Makers, given by Elgar on her departure from Marl Bank after the Worcester Festival of September 1932, the last five words of the last line of the libretto 'And a singer who sings no more' circled by Elgar and arrowed "i.e. Edward Elgar 1932" (see note below)
(iii) Printed Novello score of his Quartet, the title-page inscribed by him in ink "V.H. from [pointing hand to printed name] Edward Elgar/ 1931/ MV [Mensiversary] 7th", paper wrappers loose
(iv) Printed Novello score of his First Symphony, upper wrapper inscribed "V.H.", without title-page, the first page of score instead signed "Edward Elgar/ Doncaster/ 1932", upper wrapper loose
(v) Printed Novello score of The Kingdom, upper cover, inscribed by her on upper cover "V.H. December 14th 1932/ Various Hallucinations" with "To" added before her name by Elgar and "rehearsal at Queens Hall/ Edward Elgar", paper wrappers loose
(vi) Novello's printed score of The Apostles, inscribed by Elgar on the title-page "Edward Elgar/ Croydon 1933", red cloth
(vii) Vera Hockman's album of her life together with Elgar, the cover printed 'Snapshots' to which she has added "of E.E.", comprising ten photographs, showing her with Bernard Shaw, one of Shaw and Elgar, and several of Elgar alone and Elgar with her
(viii) Envelope addressed by Yehudi Menhuin in Paris to Elgar, marked "Photo", postmarked [?] 18 July 1932, and readdressed on the reverse by Elgar to Vera Hockman in Shirley, near Croydon [Menhuin and Elgar's celebrated recording of the Violin Concerto had been made on 14 and 15 July]
(ix) Postcard photograph of Elgar inscribed by him after their first meeting "In remembrance/ Edward Elgar/ Croydon. 1931/ Festival" above a bar printed from Gerontius
(x) Photograph of Elgar with his spaniel Marco on his knee, signed "Edward Elgar/ Hyperion/ to V.H." (their name for him, see note below)
(xi) Two photographs of Elgar, one of him with Vera and others in the garden, the other of him on the river bank, inscribed on the reverse "Worcester Festival/ Sept 1923"
(xii) Vera Hockman's carbon typescript, with autograph interpolations, of her memoir 'The Story of November 7th, 1931'


  • 'A SINGER WHO SINGS NO MORE': ELGAR'S FIRST SKETCHES FOR THE THIRD SYMPHONY, INSCRIBED 'WILL NEVER BE FINISHED?' AND GIVEN TO THE WOMAN WHOSE LOVE INSPIRED ITS CREATION, and without whom the symphony almost certainly would never have been undertaken. He had first met Vera Hockman when she was playing at the second desk of violins at a rehearsal of Gerontius at Croydon on 7 November 1931. On their introduction, Elgar told her that he had noticed her playing and had wanted to meet her; she telling him that 'this is the most wonderful experience of my life to play for you'; and he replying, 'I could see by your face that you understand my music'. The same day every month thereafter, they were to celebrate their 'mensiversary'. On their first mensiversay, Elgar gave her his mother's copy of Longfellow's Hyperion that he always carried with him, telling her 'I want you to have it because you are my mother, my child, my lover and my friend'. Although thanks to her he was writing music again, for some time he resisted calls for him to write another symphony, busying himself on other projects instead. The question came up again at the Worcester Festival that September, when he spoke of the third symphony as being already 'written', adding that 'it would not be worth while to finish up the full score since no one wanted his music now'. When Vera left him after the festival she recollected that 'I was presented with a Novello's vocal and piano score of the "Music Makers", and upon opening it I found underlined the very last line of the poem: A singer who sings no more. i.e. Edward Elgar' (quoted Moore, pp. 803-4). This score, so marked, is included in the lot. But calls continued to be made, and an official announcement that he had been commissioned by the BBC to compose the symphony was made at a dinner held as part of his seventy-fifth birthday celebrations at the Guildhall on 14 December 1932. Elgar did not himself attend, preferring instead to spend the evening quietly with Vera.

    Elgar died just over a year later, on 23 February 1934, leaving the symphony unfinished. The surviving sketches – apart of course from the two precious sheets he gave Vera – were presented by the family to the British Museum (now British Library). The symphony itself enjoyed some posthumous fame when many of the British Museum sketches were reproduced in W.H. Reed's Elgar as I Knew Him in 1936. But it has come into much wider prominence since the broadcast of March 1995 in which Anthony Payne discussed its status as an unfinished work, describing it as 'this brave last testimony from one of our greatest creative artists' and observing that 'Elgar was on fire creatively during his last year' (indeed, as Payne pointed out, Elgar himself wrote to Sir John Reith of the BBC, who commissioned the work, that 'up to the present the symphony is the strongest thing that I've put on paper'). It has of course come even more to the fore since Payne was permitted by the Elgar Estate to realize his ambition and complete his elaboration of the score from Elgar's sketches, resulting in numerous performances and recordings of the symphony. Elgar's biographer, Jerrold Northrop Moore, had access to Vera's memoir of her relationship with the composer and had some idea of her importance in the symphony's genesis, remarking that 'perhaps for the first time since Alice's death he was aware of a woman who might stand between him and the world' (Edward Elgar: A Creative Life, 1984, p. 795). But it is only with Kevin Allen's in-depth study, with full access to family papers, that the significance of her role has come to be fully appreciated. As Michael Kennedy observes in his foreword: 'When audiences listen to Anthony Payne's elaboration of the sketches of Elgar's Third Symphony, I think it is fair to say that the moment when they think "Ah! this is Elgar!" is at the 27th bar of the score when the cantabile second subject is first heard, a tender, yearning, passionate melody... This theme is clearly marked in the sketches as "V.H.'s own theme" [as in our sketch, the starting-point of the work's composition]... But it is only now, with Kevin Allen's book... that we are able to understand how close that friendship was and that it was almost certainly the cause of the sudden flaring-up of his creative fire after a decade of sterility. The tragedy is that it coincided with the onset of his last illness and failing physical powers' (Elgar in Love: Vera Hockman and the Third Symphony, 2000, p. v).

    These sketches and their accompanying material are being sold in part to help the granddaughter of Vera Hockman's adopted daughter to study at the Royal College of Music.
ELGAR (EDWARD) Collection of autograph music, inscribed scores and other mementos of his relationship with Vera Hockman, including the two first sketch-leaves for his unfinished Third Symphony, inscribed for her
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £10,000 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £10,000 up to and including £450,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £450,000 up to and including £4,500,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £4,500,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.