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John Wilson Manuscripts Ltd

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Collection of correspondence relating to Telford and road building between 1825 and 1828, 40 letters and 13 copy letters.

TELFORD, Thomas (1757-1834). A comprehensive collection of documents and letters concerning the legalities of a road improvement from Ashbourne to Leek, as part of the London to Carlisle road system. The letters are to and from a solicitor, John Cruso, who had been appointed to manage the legalities to buy the land necessary for the new road to run through. The correspondence includes nine letters between John Cruso and his son, also John, who was a barrister at Temple, London, and gives some indication of some of the frustrations in progressing Telford's project. '. Frank must therefore set off immediately and get the consents . of the Landowners . according to Telfords plan and book of reference as that must be lodged with the plan & if he cannot do all Rider or someone must help him as till we get it we can not put in the petition .' [19 February 1826]'. Telford's men had instructions not to go to any of the Landowners. Mr Hart is clearly wanting for tho' it may cut thro' some of his best Land it makes him a road to his property to which he has not now. .'[27 February, 1826]'. I have to pay Mr Telford £60 for the plans etc, the expense of lodging the plans with the clerks of the peace cost more than £10 so that with my expenses I shall be more than £100 out of pocket if I am not paid by the Ashbourne funds.'[copy letter, 4 April 1826]Telford was given the nickname 'Colossus of Roads' by his friend, the poet Robert Southey. Among his main achievements in road making were the London to Holyhead and Bangor to Chester roads as engineer to the Holyhead road commissioners from 1815, and the Glasgow to Carlisle, Lanarkshire and highlands of Scotland roads as engineer to the highland roads commissioners from 1803. At about the time of this correspondence, Telford also advised on the 100 mile Warsaw to Brzesc major road towards Moscow, which was completed in 1825.
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Series of eighteen letters, six in the third person, to her insurance brokers, largely relating to jewellery purchases, 38 pages small 4to, 1954-1964.

SITWELL, Dame Edith (1887-1964). All to the Atlas Insurance Company, some to named individuals, together with five letters written on her behalf by secretaries, and a valuation certificate from Cameo Corner, 1958. Edith Sitwell was well-known for her extravagant taste in jewellery, and this correspondence shows how seriously she took the question of valuing her new purchases, very many of them from Cameo Corner in Museum Street, London. Dame Edith (who, as ever, insists that she should be properly identified as 'Dame' or 'D.B.E.'), describes the individual purchases in her letters, and is most particular to ensure that she has full insurance cover when travelling abroad. The letters reveal not only an enthusiastic collector but a remarkably business-like personality.'. When the Manager was so kind as to insure Dame Edith's Jewellery some time ago, amongst the items was a Renaissance pendant, consisting of a Queen's Head carved out of a garnet, with a gold crown, and surrounded by branches with flowers of white enamel with centres of rubies. (To this subsequently added a brooch - value £65, I think, if I remember rightly, from Cameo Corner. .The whole jewel was inadequately priced at the moment. Dame Edith's secretary, Miss Salter, took it the other day, to be valued at Messrs. Philipps, the antique jewellers, of New Bond Street, and they said that although it was impossible, really, to price it, as it is a work of art, they would sell it for £600. .' '. a deep blue, square-oblong aquamarine ring, purchased for £160.'. my sable-dyed Rolinsky coat, bought by me for £82. 19s.'. I have just (with my Guinness prize) bought two new rings from Cameo Corner . the amount I shall pay for these will be either £175 or £180. '. One ring is an amethyst surrounded by diamonds, the other a ring of small pearls with a few tiny diamonds interspersed. Incidentally, I changed the amethyst ring, and the pearl ring that I bought last autumn, for a topaz & pearl ring, and three half hoop pearl rings. These came to £25 less than the others, but I shall, when I have been televised, get another ring which will increase that sum. etc. etc. .' The letters are variously written from Renishaw Hall, The Sesame and Imperial Club, and Chicago, and all bear the received-stamp of the Leeds branch of the insurers, some being annotated with financial calculations in pencil.
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Series of 27 Autograph Letters Signed, in his ‘swishy handwriting’ to the songwriter and composer Vivian Ellis and his sister Hermione, 36 pages 4to & oblong 8vo.

FLINT, Sir William Russell (1880-1969). Mostly signed 'Willie', on headed paper of Peel Cottage, Campden Hill [London], with 26 original autograph envelopes, 8 october 1952 to 23 April 1969. Discussing, for example, a reproduction of one of his drawings in Ellis's autobiography; his birthday ('80! Isn't it awful!'); invitations to various parties; his and his wife's health; a trip to South Africa; his granddaughter ('Sarah used to be (I'm told) rather awed by her grandfather but, certainly, she is not now!'); and Hermione's many gifts to him.'. Am I really going to be in the same book as you? Well, I was trained as a lithographic printer but as that was art with a very small 'A' it cannot very well be called another profession. .''. I've been enjoying my peaceful studio, not painting all the time but thoroughly enjoying myself writing & arranging a little book without any illustrations at all. "In due course" Hermione & Vivian Ellis will receive a copy of it & equally "in due course", I'll await, trembling, their verdict upon it. .' '. What a lovely visit - for ME. I hope I didn't exhaust you. You, by some magic, made me chatter, me, the dumb object usually! .''. I can imagine you working away at your autobiography in country quiet. It should be an unusual & interesting book. (I'll keep the secret). .''. You, Vivian, gave me real pleasure with your "Brighton Belles" in, I think, "Courier". I have also greatly enjoyed "Uproarious Devon" - quite delightful. .''. Your pale "daffadowndillies", Hermione, were a joy. I had them in a perfect jug & their paleness & beauty against the white walls of my room gave me real conscious pleasure. .'Vivian Ellis (1903-1996) was the most prolific composer of British musicals in the 1930s and after the war, in collaboration with A.P. Herbert, wrote a series of successful light operas, the most enduring of which was Bless The Bride. One of his most famous songs, 'Spread a Little Happiness' enjoyed a revival in 1982 when it was recorded by Sting. Ellis never married, and lived with his sister Hermione for many years. His autobiography, I'm on a See-Saw (1953, reprinted 1974) contains a reference to the picture mentioned by Flint in these letters: 'In my London flat hangs a picture by that past master of English water-colour painting, Sir William Russell Flint. The subject is Eileen Lush as Sue, the little girl in the Cromwellian cap who played Pepys's maid and sang the treble line in the madrigal, "Gaze not on Swans"' (p. 255).Also included is an autograph letter by Flint's son, Francis Russell Flint (2 pages oblong 8vo, Jesmond Dene, Burgess Hill, 12 January 1970, with autograph envelope), thanking Vivian and Hermione Ellis for writing to him on the death of his father: '. I have a hard task ahead, but am determined to try to carry on his tradition in Water Colour, a task I hope will be easier, as I have inherited his paintbox. .'
Series of 20 Autograph Letters Signed to Caroline Holland

Series of 20 Autograph Letters Signed to Caroline Holland, daughter of Sir Henry Holland (1788-1873, physician to Queen Victoria and travel writer), in all 71 pages 8vo.

LOUISE CAROLINE ALBERTA (1848-1939). From Dorndon, Tunbridge Wells, Kensington Palace, Osborn House, Frogmore House and Sandringham, 1873-1880, where dated. Princess Louise, known as the rebellious royal, was a sculptor, painter and campaigner for the rights of women from whom scandal was never far away. Her marriage to the Marquis of Lorne gave her a certain amount of freedom from her mother's watchful and reproachful eye, most obviously when Lorne was appointed Governor General of Canada and the pair moved away from England. These letters date from after her marriage.Though the Princess's artistic talents are well known, her musical interests are less so. Even her critical mother acknowledged her expertise in dancing, though little is known of her singing prowess. These letters depict a keen and sensitive singer, eager to join Miss Holland's choir and to promote their concerts. 'Many thanks for sending me the copy of 'Joshua'. I have been looking it over, but of course doing so alone is not of much use. There are only two or three little bits which seem difficult.Your marks I do not all understand, at present, but shall when I am singing with the others, I dare say. . I shall be dreadfully shy at first, that I must tell you. .'Private concerts to support the Princess's charities were undertaken by Miss Holland's choir.'Mr Sullivan is most tiresome not to have sent in his part of the programme. I will send off to him again for the 4th time. Mr Chappell will have the tickets to sell, & to be got also at 31 Sloane Street & at two of the Gentlemen's houses belonging to the Work Society. .'The collection includes five letters from the Marquess of Lorne to Miss Holland. It would appear from these letters that Miss Holland was commissioned to set a poem entitled A grave in London written by Lorne, to music. The poem is included in one of Lorne's letters (which contains a photograph of an elderly man seated and has the signature excised).'A Sailor's grave, when London roars, A Conch-shell placed thereon;Voices of City, wares and shoresWhen he with these has done!.'Two letters from Louise's younger sister Princess Helena (1846-1923, fifth child of Queen Victoria) are also included, indicating that Miss Holland was a close friend of all the family.'. May God comfort & support you dear Miss Holland in this your bitter sorrow. Alas, I know too well what it is to lose a loving & tender Father. .'
Autograph Letter Signed ('Wellington') to General Sir [James w]illoughby Gordon

Autograph Letter Signed (‘Wellington’) to General Sir [James w]illoughby Gordon, 2 pages 8vo, S[tratfied] Saye, 7 September 1827.

WELLINGTON, Arthur Wellesley, duke of (1769-1852). A fine political letter. '. I am inclined to think that the King did say something civil in respect of Lord Holland, which was calculated to satisfy Lord Lansdowne. The political office offered to Brougham I believe was that of Chief Baron; and Peerage!! I don't understand that Brougham thinks his silk gown does him an injury. That which hs been injurious to him has been the promotion of others of his Brethren at the Bar; which he wished to have postponed for a year. This postponement was to have given him the Lion's share of Mr Scarlett's business. .' The letter was written at the beginning of Lord Brougham's seeking for political power, and anticipates later events when, in 1830, having already been affronted by the offer of becoming attorney-general, he very reluctantly accepted the lord chancellorship and the peerage which accompanied it.The others referred to are James Scarlett, later first Baron Abinger), Henry Richard Holland, third Baron Holland (1773-1840) The earlier reference is described thus in Oxford DNB: 'In the political vacuum caused by Liverpool's stroke on 17 February 1827, Holland's Letter to the Rev. Dr. Shuttleworth argued the advantages of Catholic emancipation. Unlike Grey, Holland supported the administrations of Canning and Goderich. Those whigs in office were eager to have him in the cabinet. George IV disingenuously assured Lansdowne on 1 September that Holland should fill the first vacancy. On 11 December, a month before his resignation, Goderich himself proposed this to the king.' The further reference is to James Scarlett, later first Baron Abinger (1769-1844), judge.