File NLW MS 24053D. - Augustus John letters to Emerich Teltsch.

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 24053D.


Augustus John letters to Emerich Teltsch.


  • 1960-1961 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

13 ff.

Placed in melinex sleeves within ringed box at NLW.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Augustus Edwin John, artist, was born at Tenby, Pembrokeshire, on 4 January 1878. He studied at the Slade School in London between 1894 and 1899. A diving accident in 1897 caused severe head injuries, reputedly affecting his personality and painting style. He married Ida Nettleship in 1901 and they had five children. At about the same time, he was appointed to teach art at the University of Liverpool, where he was taught the Romani language. Periods of travelling throughout England and Wales in a gypsy caravan inspired much of his work before World War 1. In 1902, he met Dorothy MacNeill, giving her the Romani name Dorelia. She became his most important model and lifelong inspiration; she moved to Paris with Augustus's sister, the artist Gwen John, the following year. Augustus based himself mainly in Paris in 1906-1907. After Ida's death in 1907, Dorelia became John's partner (they never formally married). They had four children together, both before and after Ida's death. His early period of work was characterised by drawings from life, notably of contemporaries including Ida and Dorelia and his sisters, as well as portraits in oils influenced by the Old Masters and an experimental series of etchings. He was elected President of the National Portrait Gallery in 1914. During World War 1 he spent a brief time in France, employed by the Canadian government as a war artist, and was official artist at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. After a period of painting landscapes and employing a more modern impressionistic idiom, he became increasingly successful as a portrait painter. His subjects included Thomas Hardy, T. E. Lawrence, George Bernard Shaw, and David Lloyd George. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1928, resigned in 1938, and was re-elected in 1940. He was elected President of the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art in 1934 and President of the Gypsy Lore Society in 1938. In 1942 he was awarded the Order of Merit for services to art. He died at Fryern Court, Hampshire, his home since 1927, in 1961.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Archival history

At least three of the letters (ff. 1, 4, 8) appear to have been previously sold on online bidding site eBay during 2012, along with another letter from John to Teltsch, dated 9 November 1960, not part of the Biddle & Webb auction (WorthPoint WWW site, viewed 3 September 2014); the present collection was previously sold at auction by International Autograph Auctions Ltd, Two Day Autograph Auction Day 2, 24 February 2013 (lot 582).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Biddle & Webb, Auctioneers and Valuers; Birmingham; Purchased at auction, lot 1235; 8 November 2013; 006701897.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Ten letters, February 1960-April 1961, from the painter Augustus John, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, to the art collector [Emerich (Emo)] Telt[s]ch, mostly concerning John's work (ff. 1-3, 5-10, 13); together with one letter from Dorelia John to Teltsch, 19 August 1960 (f. 4), and one from the painter Jo[sette] Jones to Teltsch, [February 1961] (ff. 11-12).
The letters contain references to work on John's triptych 'Les Saintes-Maries de la Mer with Sainte Sara, l'Egyptienne' (ff. 3, 5-9, 13); Teltsch offered him up to £8000 for the work (see NLW MS 22786D, f. 68, and Michael Holroyd, Augustus John: The New Biography (London, 1996), p. 597). There are two letters, from John (f. 10) and Josette Jones (ff. 11-12), concerning John's apology for an ill-advised letter (not present) to Teltsch, criticizing drawings by Teltsch's God-child (unidentified).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged chronologically at NLW.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding ownership of Augustus John copyright can be found at (viewed September 2014).

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Acquired along with a photograph of Augustus John (Acc. No. 006701913) and a pamphlet for a 1999 exhibition of his work (Acc. No. 006702057); for letters of Emo Teltsch to Augustus John see NLW MS 22786D, ff. 68-69; for letters of Josette Jones to Augustus John see NLW MS 22782D, ff. 127-131.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 24053D.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

September 2014.


  • English



Archivist's note

Description compiled by Rhys Morgan Jones.

Accession area

Related subjects

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Text: NLW MS 24053D.