Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSGJOHN
Held at: National Library of Wales
Title: Gwen John MSS
Short title: John, Gwen, manuscripts
Dates of creation: 1880-1972 (predominantly 1903-1939)
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 47 volumes
Name of creator(s): Gwen John and others
Administrative and biographical history: Gwendolen Mary (Gwen) John, painter, was born in Haverfordwest, the elder sister of the artist Augustus John. In 1895 she entered the Slade School of Fine Art in London, where her fellow students included Ursula Tyrwhitt and Ida Nettleship (afterwards wife of Augustus John). In 1904 John settled permanently in Paris. In the same year she met the sculptor Auguste Rodin, with whom she had a stormy relationship. She was introduced by Augustus to the American lawyer and collector John Quinn and his companion Jeanne Robert Foster. Amongst her circle of acquaintances was the revolutionary, feminist and actress Maud Gonne and Dorelia (formerly Dorothy) McNeill, who became Augustus's lifelong companion. In 1913, John was received into the Catholic church and thereafter produced many ecclesiastically-themed paintings. In her later years she formed an attachment to the Russian-Jewish émigré Véra Oumançoff, who lived near John in the Paris suburb of Meudon. It is believed that John ceased to produce any works of art after about 1933. Following John's death her artistic reputation was revived by numerous exhibitions both in Britain and the United States, the first taking place in London in 1946. Her collected works are divided between public collections and the National Museum and Gallery in Cardiff; those of her works owned by John Quinn remained in the United States.
Scope and content: Papers and correspondence, 1880-1972, of or relating to the artist Gwen John and including letters and diaries, exercise books and other notebooks, and sketches; together with correspondence and other papers relating to the estate of Gwen John, and photographs found amongst her papers after her death.
Language/script: English, French, Welsh, Romani, Greek
System of arrangement: Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 22155, 22276-22318, 23508-23510.
Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their Readers' Tickets.
Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.
Finding aids: Description based on Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume VIII (Aberystwyth, 1999); Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IX (Aberystwyth, 2003).
Accruals: Accruals are not expected
Immediate source of acquisition: NLW MS 22155 was purchased at Sotheby's of London (lot 267) on 18th December 1985; NLW MSS 22276-22318 were purchased from Mr Ben John and Miss Sara John, son and daughter of Gwen John's nephew Edwin John, in 1984 and 1987; NLW MSS 23508-23510 were purchased from Mr Ben John, son of Gwen John's nephew Edwin John, Longtown, Hereford in 1996.
Related units of description: The papers and correspondence are described more fully in the catalogue Gwen John Papers (Aberystwyth, 1988). See also NLW MSS 14930-14931, 21468. Exhibition catalogues, reproductions of paintings and printed materials included in the purchase of NLW MSS 23508-23510 are NLW ex 1749.
Publication note: See Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan, Gwen John Papers at the National Library of Wales, 2nd ed. (Aberystwyth, 1995).
Note: Title based on contents
Archivist's note: Description compiled by Bethan Ifans for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume VIII (Aberystwyth, 1999); Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume IX (Aberystwyth, 2003); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on-line site, viewed 6 May 2009.
Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH.
Date(s) of description: May 2009