Archive Treasures: Hardy’s Time’s Laughingstocks and Other Verses

Archive Treasures: Hardy’s Time’s Laughingstocks and Other Verses

Monday July 13 2020

Britten owned a large collection of verse anthologies as well as volumes of specific authors in his library. Of these volumes the one with the most interesting provenance may be this first edition of Thomas Hardy’s poems – Time’s Laughingstocks and Other Verses. Two letters from Hardy found in the cover of the volume reveal […]

Archive Treasures: African National Congress

Tuesday July 7 2020

In the archive at the Red House, there is shelf after shelf of Benjamin Britten’s correspondence: its cataloguing was recently completed by a team of volunteers, after which the final total stood at over eleven thousand files. Much of it is professional and there is also personal correspondence such as the intimate, affectionate letters that […]

Archive Treasures: From Dr. Who’s Daleks to Britten’s baleful fisherman

Monday June 8 2020

Wonder what the above could possibly have in common? In three words: David Myerscough-Jones. Discover more about the work this artist did when he envisioned Britten’s Borough and ghosts for television Following studies in his native Lancashire this talented artist embarked on a career in designing for theatre first in Scotland and later in London. In […]

Archive treasure: Pears’ copy of Mansfield Park

Monday June 1 2020

As one would expect, the Britten Pears Archive strong room is full of stories about works Britten composed. Just as interesting though are the stories about works which weren’t written. Some projects got no further than a letter suggesting them to Britten. Such a letter was sent from poet Philip Larkin in 1974 explaining that […]

Reynolds Stone, Britten, Pears and their Bookplate

Wednesday May 6 2020

During a time when catching up on reading is a viable option for many of us, find out how Britten and Pears’ unique and beautiful bookplate came to be made. Britten and Pears were incorrigible bibliophiles. Like many booklovers, they were eager to declare ownership of their collection, to have a personalised Ex Libris. And […]

Acquisition of Lennox and Freda Berkeley’s papers

Thursday April 30 2020

Britten Pears Arts is delighted to have acquired for its collections the papers of composer Lennox Berkeley and his wife Freda. The purchase of these papers was made possible by grants provided by The Friends of the National Libraries, The Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, The Pilgrim Trust and one anonymous […]

New collection: Kathleen Ferrier memorabilia

Monday April 20 2020

The Archive is delighted to have received in February a collection of items relating to contralto Kathleen Ferrier. Ferrier played an important role in Britten’s early career. He wrote music with her sumptuous and expressive voice in mind, specifically Spring Symphony and Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac. In 1946 Ferrier made her stage debut in […]

Britten, Pears, Holst and Bach’s St. John Passion

Thursday April 9 2020

Although attending a performance of the Passion isn’t possible this Easter we can be reminded of how important Bach’s music was to Britten, Pears and Imogen Holst, and take a quick look at how their own edition of the St. John Passion evolved. Bach was a staple in the lives of Britten, Pears and Imogen […]

Box of Delights: March 2020

Tuesday March 31 2020

The theme for our first Box of Delights of the year is ‘World Premieres’. It contains a selection of items that have been newly catalogued over the winter closed season and are making their first public appearances. The items are taken from two collections: the papers of Colin McPhee and the papers of Basil Coleman. […]

Catalogue Update: February 2020

Friday February 14 2020

Over the winter months, the archive team and volunteers have been busy creating new records for our catalogue, which are soon to be available to view online. Among the items that have been recently added to our catalogue are the papers of Colin McPhee. McPhee, an American composer, ethnomusicologist specialising in Balinese music, and friend […]

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