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Papers of Robert Calverley Trevelyan and Elizabeth Trevelyan
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Papers of Robert Calverley Trevelyan and Elizabeth Trevelyan

  • TRER
  • Fonds
  • 1865-1958

The archive contains papers of both Robert Calverley Trevelyan and his wife Elizabeth (née des Amorie van der Hoeven, known as Bessie), though the majority relate to R. C. Trevelyan and comprise personal items 1872-1951, publications 1898-1950, publications 1989-1950, reviews of publications 1898-1953, photographs 1876-1949, family material.

This archive is in the process of being catalogued: the majority of the correspondence has been catalogued at item level, while around fifteen boxes predominantly containing working notebooks and photographs remain; work on these and revisions will follow.

Trevelyan, Robert Calverley (1872-1951), poet, dramatist, and translator


Letters and postcards from E. M. Forster to Elizabeth Trevelyan. Also included are five letters from R. J. Buckingham to Elizabeth Trevelyan, 3-5 and 83-84, written in 1935-1936 and 1950 to report on Forster's recovery from operations.

Letter from Umberto Morra di Lavriano to R. C. Trevelyan

Metelliano. - Has wanted to write for a long time: it comes easier here, where he has more time for remembrance of Trevelyan. His life has changed, since he has lived in Rome since the beginning of the war and still has editorial work for a weekly publication. Has been staying at the Braccis' house, empty for a long time but now they have returned. His journeys to Cortona are 'adventurous and accidental' since the railways are not yet functioning properly and 'lifts' are rarer since the departure of the Allies; it feels almost as remote and unconnected as it would have done in the 18th century. All is well: the house is 'soiled and worn by the occupation' but returning to normal, his books undamaged, his people well though older. Sees the Sprigges often in Rome and has long talks with Sylvia which always bring in Trevelyan; enjoyed "Windfalls" and Sylvia is to give him Trevelyan's [edition of] Chinese poems. Has been asked to contribute to a book of essays on Virginia Woolf, in Italian but with some English contributors, and is re-reading her critical work.. Has not yet seen Lina [Waterfield], nor B.B. [Berenson] since January, when he was very well. Hopes that Trevelyan will soon return to Italy.

Letter from Elizabeth Trevelyan to Sir George Trevelyan

Mill House, Westcott, Dorking. - Thanks Sir George for his letter; delayed answering it for a few days as they wanted to see their architect [F. A. Richards?]. They went over the site with him yesterday; he seemed to think the work was 'progressing very satisfactorily', and that the next bill might be due some time next month. They would therefore be 'very grateful' to Sir George if he could 'pay in the other £500'. She will have to see about 'providing for the rest in the course of next month'. The walls of the ground floor are up and the first floor is now being raised; the architects are pleased with the builders and think them 'careful workers'.

It was 'most interesting' to go over the site with the architect and "Miss [Margaret] Waterfield, a great gardening authority': they 'roughly planned the laying out' and decided what should be done before the winter. Miss Waterfield was 'delighted with the view and the site & thought it might gradually be made into something very beautiful & original, as the ground is so irregular & full of beautiful trees'.

They were 'very sorry to hear about Mrs Thompson's accident [see 11/153]; wishes she could go over and play the violin to her 'while she is laid up which might cheer her'. Sends her love and Robert's.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Menaggio. - Glad that Elizabeth is better, and had 'a satisfactory interview with Mrs Scharlieb'; they were also interested in the Dorking meeting; parts of 'Mr G. M.'s letters' appeared in the newspapers; glad that Robert took a share in proceedings. It is lovely here, and they have spent a 'lazy day' sitting with Aunt Margaret in the garden and going with her and Lionel on the Lake [Como]; Margaret is much better. They are thinking of going to Baveno for a few days on Monday. Spent a day at St Moritz on the way, which she did not like much; it also rained heavily when going up there and down the Maloja [Pass], but they have otherwise had good weather. Mrs Humphry Ward has had to leave in answer to a telegraph about her brother [William Arnold], whom she thinks Elizabeth has met though she herself has never done so; fears there has been 'some fatal turn to his illness'. Sir George is well, and Booa thinks Italy is 'wonderful'; she agrees it is very beautiful, and 'even the great number of houses & villas on the banks cannot spoil it. Hopes that the building [of Robert and Elizabeth's new house] can now begin. Sends birthday wishes, though apologises for forgetting the exact date. Hopes the opera was good, and that 'the invalid at Cumberland Place' was better; Mary 'seemed so kind about her'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Flora Russell

Very kind of Flora to give him Sir Frederick Pollock's Greek verses; they are a translation of a 'very fine poem' by Sir Alfred Lyall about a Hindu ascetic watching an army passing by [the first part of "Studies at Delhi"]. Pollock was an excellent Greek scholar and his translation 'seems rather a tour de force'; will send Flora the English poem if he can find it. Is 'fairly well again now', and went to London yesterday, but still gets tired if he walks too much. Hopes he will be able to cycle over some day to see Flora, and perhaps her lead soldiers; has some here, which he will show her if she can visit them.

Letter from Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy to R. C. Trevelyan

12A Tite St., Chelsea, SW(3). - Is in London, staying with his old Oxford friend [Philip] Heseltine [the composer Peter Warlock]; had hoped he might be able to earn some money through the Round Table Conference, but everyone involved already has secretaries and so on. Asks if Trevelyan might be in town as he would love to see them; much as he would like to come to the country his only chance of work is to stay in London 'and be a bore to people'. They [he and the Germanova/Kalitinsky family?] have moved to the new flat.

Letter from Robin Mayor to R. C. Trevelyan

26 Addison Avenue, London. - Returns "Windfalls"; should have done so earlier, but has kept it till he had 'time to read and digest' Bob's [translation of Virgil's] "Eclogues" and "Georgics". Thinks them both very good: any doubts he had about the 'long metre' Bob used for the "Eclogues" 'quite disappeared', and thinks he was right to use blank verse for the "Georgics" 'with its more deliberate and continuous movement'; had not fully realised before how differently Virgil uses the hexameter in the two works. Thinks Bob has been 'surprisingly successful' in capturing both the 'almost prosaic manner' of much of the Georgics without being 'pompous or over-poetical', while doing justice to 'the high poetic quality of the great passages'. Felt something occasionally lacking in his version of Virgil's 'sudden transitions from one level to another', but suspects no translation can capture fully the 'sudden beauties'. Enjoyed "Windfalls" too and could say much about it, but will not 'spin this letter out any longer'.

Letter from J. L. Hammond to R. C. Trevelyan

Catfield, Piccotts End, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. - Addresses Trevelyan as Bob since 'tough life has not brought [them] often together' they are 'very old friends in spirit'; remembers well calling on him 'early in the century' while doing a walking tour in Surrey, and Bob 'escorting' him for some miles on his way to [Arthur] Clutton Brock at Farncombe; hopes the first name is therefore not 'too familiar', and invites Bob to call him Lawrence. The Hammonds are 'delighted' with their Christmas present [this year's "From the Shiffolds"]; it is a 'great pleasure to read beautiful poetry these days'; the poem to [Goldsworthy] Lowes Dickinson is 'very moving' and fills him with nostalgia. They send best New Year wishes to both Trevelyans.

Letter from George Macaulay Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

22 Sussex Villas, Kensington - Is going away from 18 May to 18 June; afraid they must put off 'settling anything about Pierson [Nicolaas Gerard Pierson, or a relative?]' since as Bessie says they cannot see him until they are sure they want him. Asks her to let him know, when he returns from holiday, when Pierson is coming over.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

Thanks his mother for her letter and her cake; this was very good, and he and Hicks (who is as old as Robert), had tea with Mr and Mrs Arnold. A boy who was at Wixenford who has just left Harrow, Walford (Hugh Selwyn or Arthur George Walford?), was also here; he was in Watson's house and says he knows Charlie. Robert hopes Charlie is getting on well. Archie has asked Robert to go to see him next holiday in Ireland, but this 'would hardly be possible'; asks his mother if he could go, as he would like to but knows it would 'be rather a business' going to Ireland and back. The weather is very fine today. There was no match last Saturday, as the 'Farnborough fellows' were unwell. It is the Eton match tomorrow, but there are 'only three or four Eton chaps'.

Postcard from Sophie Weisse to Michiel Noordewier and Alida Noordewier-Reddingius

Pension Bruhn, Nürnbergerstr. 65, Berlin IV; addressed to them at Beethovenlaan, Hilversum, Holland. - Is worried that Donald [Tovey] who needs a cure, has no more of his medicine. Asks if they could write to Margaret Parratt asking her to tell Herbert in Egham at once to send two bottles, not directly to Donald but to Mrs Trevelyan at the Shiffolds. This is the new tonic he last received from the doctor. Would be very grateful. Bessie Trevelyan already cares for Donald; asks if they know she is also Dutch.

Letter from Sir George Trevelyan to R. C. Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Northumberland. - Was very glad that Robert went to the funeral; there is an 'immense gap' since [Sir George's sister] Margaret's 'vitality, and power of interest made one forget how long she had been very ill'. Charles and Mary went to Rounton [Grange] this morning; Janet, George, and their babies [Mary and Theodore]. A huge search-party was out for 'old Thompson', the farmer-shepherd at Harwood, who was nearly blind and got lost on 'Friday week, the first of the hot days'; Charles got fifty 'navvies from the water works' to join in; Harwood was eventually found drowned in Fallowlees Loch. It would not have been right to shoot Harwood moor, and the game were scattered over the county by the searchers; Sir George went shooting for the first time yesterday and did well; will shoot Catcherside next Monday. Has bought the twelve volumes of the "Yellow Book" in the original covers; asks if he has had a bargain. Glad that the Water Lane is being done to Robert and Elizabeth's satisfaction.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Roger Fry

I Tatti, Settignano, Florence. - Starting South this afternoon after ten days with the Berensons; B.B. is anxious and not sleeping well, but seems more cheerful since their arrival; his wife also seems to be in poor health and when she returns B.B. hopes to go to Sicily for a holiday. Asks whether Fry will be in Italy in March, the probable time of their own return, and whether Daniel will accompany him. Glad Fry's watercolours were successful and that he likes the [Band of Hope] banner. He must not forget his picture of H[elen] and J[ulian], and Helen her 'Bronzino infant'. Has seen Moore's young brother [Bertie] who paints in Italy; hopes Fry might be able to give him advice. Has heard about 'Lina's artist' [Aubrey Waterfield] from her, the K[err] Lawsons, and Moore who knew him at the Slade: tends to think that Lina is right about Waterfield, 'the Oxford manner' makes him a little difficult at first but he is fundamentally decent, and that [Lina's aunt] Mrs Ross has treated her very badly; Berenson is also 'perfectly silly' about it. However, Lina is being sensible and they will marry in a year or so. According to Moore, Tonks thought highly of Waterfield's drawings. B.B. 'nicer than ever' himself but much more intolerant of others (not Fry). Is sorry about the book [problems with the reproduction of Fry's illustrations for Trevelyan's "Polyphemus and Other Poems"] but it was not Fry's fault and his illustrations are much appreciated by all there. Bessie sends regards to all.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

Pension Palumbo, Ravello, Golfo di Salerno. - Strange and 'rather a bore' writing 1900. Has received Bessie's 'almond-bearing letter' [see 9/23]; remembers walking under other almond trees with her. Is going to put a bad dream into his play; is getting on slowly but quite well with it. Much relieved by a letter from [Lina] Duff Gordon; wrote to her saying he probably should have told her of his feelings for Bessie but explaining why that had been difficult, and that he was pained to think their friendship could not be the same again; she replied after a while with no mention of the misunderstanding, just writing 'the letter of one intimate friend to another'. He had promised to write a poem about the pet bat who visits her every winter, and she wrote down the bat's name as a reminder [cf. "The Lady's Bat"]. May have been unfair to Mrs C. [Mary Costelloe], but she certainly talked about him and Lina Duff Gordon 'in a way she had no right'; will try to avoid her, but it is difficult to see [Bernard] Berenson, whom he likes very much, separately. Berenson has written, and 'rather reproached' him for not visiting him at Florence on the way down; he is alone now as Mrs Costelloe has gone to London because her husband is dying. Bob may stop a couple of days on the way back, since Berenson is not coming to England this year; 'he rather feels neglect, and has been extraordinary kind' to Bob, though he 'is difficult at times'. Will not decide until he knows when he is coming to Holland. Continues the letter next day, Has not yet heard from his mother about whether he and Bessie should cross the Channel together. Thinks it would probably be best for her to stop at Grosvenor Crescent for a night on the way to Welcombe, but that can be determined later. Hopes she and Paul and Marie [Hubrecht] will persuade Willy van Riemsdijk not to go to Africa. Sorry that her aunt has such a bad cold; teases Bessie about learning cooking and 'fortifying [herself] against evil times in the barbaric isle, where neither foreign languages not [sic] the dressing of vegetables are understood'. Other people have also found his father's book difficult, and of course she knows little of British 'history or... parliamentary jargon'. Mr Straughn Davidson [James Leigh Strachan-Davidson?] , an Oxford don whom he rather likes, is coming at the end of the week

"The Abinger Chronicle", Vol. 3. No. 3.

Contains: "On Translating Montaigne" by R. C. Trevelyan; poem, "Dante's Beatrice", by S.S. [Sylvia Sprigge]; poem, "Nocturne", by M. D. Hastings; "Composer in the Nursery" by Robert Muller-Hartmann; poem, "Reflection", by John Griffin; "Some Thoughts on the Teaching of Art" by A. B. S. Sprigge; poem, "Nostalgia", by H. B. [Herbert Brereton?] Aldrich.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Wallington, Cambo, Morpeth. - Good to hear Julian is doing well; she and Sir George will visit on 20 October; not sure how much she will be doing in London, since she wants to see pictures and perhaps go to the theatre, so may not stay the night. Must be very interesting to see Mr [Donald] Tovey at work; sure Elizabeth will help him a little 'by "intelligent sympathy"'. A postscript notes that she 'must remember the homespun [?] next year'.

Letter from George Macaulay Trevelyan to R. C. Trevelyan

British Red Cross Society, First British Ambulance Unit for Italy, S. Giovanni di Manzano, Udine, Italy. - Thanks Bob for 'Krishna' ["The Pearl Tree"], which he read yesterday on the first real Italian summer day and 'found it very refreshing to the spirit'; it has a '"mental atmosphere" of its own' giving it 'originality and success', and the metre is 'very fine and variegated'. Has been reading much Milton recently and appreciates the relation of Bob's poetry to the Miltonic metres. Is now reading the rest of the book ["An Annual of New Poetry, 1917"]. Asks in a postscript whether Bob invented the Krishna story.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Julian Trevelyan

Hears Julian is going to Paris, so may see [Maria] Germanova; if he does, wonders if he could, through 'tactful leading questions', find out how her finances and ability to pay for the flat stand; he has been paying the whole rent for about the last year, but she has said that after the marriage of Andreyusha [Kalitinsky, her son], he would not need to do so, as the new bride's father would give the young people enough money to be independent. [Hasan Shahid] Suhrawardy need therefore no longer send a large part of his salary to support Andreyusha, but instead could pay for the flat. She may not need any help from Bob, but he feels uneasy; Suhrawardy's last letter said that he had 'never been so poor as now' so perhaps he is sending more than he can really afford to Germanova. Does not want them to be in any monetary distress, but it is difficult to write about all this directly to her. Went to see Udai Shankar yesterday, and 'delight[s] in him, and the Indian music as much as ever'. Hopes to see Julian and Ursula before too long.

Letter from William Rothenstein to Elizabeth Trevelyan

11 Oak Hill Park, Frognal, Hampstead. - If Mrs Trevelyan has time to write, would like to hear any news she has from her husband: 'whether he is impressed with India & cares for the people he is meeting'. Hopes he has been keeping well: heard 'something about German measles', but that was a while ago. Any time Mrs Trevelyan would like to come and sit [for a portrait] she would be very welcome.

Christmas card from Veronica Wedgwood to R. C. Trevelyan

32 and 34 Bloomsbury Street, W.C.1. - Printed message inside: 'With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year from TIME and TIDE". Hand written message on the back page of the card, saying the card feels 'rather a poor return' for Bob's 'beautiful collection "From the Shiffolds"', with which she is 'very delighted'. Is 'very proud' to put it on her poetry shelves, and hopes that they can meet again soon. Sends best wishes for 1948.

Letter from Caroline Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

8, Grosvenor Crescent, S.W. - Glad Elizabeth is enjoying her visit and has seen the [Gilbert?] Murrays; is 'so fond of Mary'. Letters to G[eorge] and J[anet] should be sent to the Wards, staying at Villa Bonaventura, Cadenabbia, who will forward them on. The latest news of them is from Florence; they were 'very happy'. Has had 'such a nice note' from Miss [Mary?] Fletcher, and has asked Imogen to play, since they are coming [to Caroline's party]. Arrangements for meeting; including the concert they are going to together. Encloses an invitation to the party [?] in case Robert would like to ask [Henry] Previté; they should say if there is anyone else they would like to come. She and Sir George liked Mr Howells, and found Mrs Atherton amusing. Very glad Elizabeth found Mrs F [Helen Fry?] better, but it 'does not seem satisfactory'.

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