- [c. 1928]-1971 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
Writer and artist Brenda Chamberlain (1912-1971) was born and raised in Bangor, Caernarfonshire, and educated privately before embarking on her art studies at the Royal Academy, London in 1931. In 1935 Chamberlain married the artist John Petts. The following year the couple moved to Llanllechid, where they set up the Caseg Press, producing postcards and bookplates, and also the Caseg Broadsheets - featuring poetry by Chamberlain and others - with the poet and writer Alun Lewis. Chamberlain's marriage to Petts ended in 1946. Thereafter she lived briefly in Germany before settling on Bardsey Island, where she wrote and painted until, in 1961, she moved to the Greek island of Idhra. In 1967 Chamberlain returned to Bangor, where she died in 1971. Amongst Chamberlain's major published works are the poetic anthology The Green Heart (London, 1958) (dedicated to Karl von Laer), Tide-Race (London, 1962), an account of her life on Bardsey, her only novel The Water Castle (London, 1964), A Rope of Vines (London, 1965), chronicling her time on Ydra, Poems With Drawings (London, 1969), and Alun Lewis and the Making of the Caseg Broadsheets (London, 1969).
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
NLW MSS 21484-9, 21491-508, 21510-18, 21520-23, 21525D: Brenda Chamberlain estate; Purchase; 1972.
NLW MSS 21490E, 21509C, 21519C, 21524E: Mrs Brinley Rees [i.e. Joan Rees]; Bangor; Donation; 1973.
NLW MSS 22493-22494: Anonymous; Donation; 1973 and kept under seal, at the donor's request, until 1985.
NLW MS 23381D: Mr Alan Clodd; London; Purchase (with NLW ex 1665); 1995.
NLW MS 23382E: Mrs Gweno M. Lewis, widow of Alun Lewis; Aberystwyth; Donation; 1995.
Uncatalogued papers (4 large boxes):; Mrs Joan Rees; Bangor; Donation; June 2001.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Manuscripts, 1934-1971, of the artist and writer Brenda Chamberlain, including drafts of various poems and poetry collections, 1941-[1960s]; drafts of the novel The Water-Castle (London, 1964), [1953x1962], and the memoirs Tide-race (London, 1962), , and A Rope of Vines (London, 1965), 1964-; other prose fiction, [1940s]-[1960s]; plays, 1956-[c. 1968]; film scripts, [1969x1971]; other miscellaneous prose, -[?1970]; original journals, -1966; sketches and studies in various media, [1930s]-1965; correspondence, 1952-1971; and printed matter, 1950-1968.
Papers, [c. 1928]-1970, of Brenda Chamberlain comprising correspondence, notebooks and diaries, sketch books, broadsheets, some printed material, woodcuts, sketches, slides and photographs. The collection includes a few letters sent by her mother to her father, Tom Chamberlain; and drafts of works and a notebook belonging to Peter Petts. These papers (4 large boxes, donated by Mrs Joan Rees, Bangor, June 2001) remain uncatalogued.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 21484-525, 22493-4, 23381-2.
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 noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their Readers' Tickets.
Conditions governing reproduction
Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding the ownership of Brenda Chamberlain copyright can be found at http://tyler.hrc.utexas.edu/ (viewed October 2014).
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
NLW MSS 21484-525 described in the NLW typescript list Brenda Chamberlain Manuscripts (1973).
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Title based on contents of fonds.
Virtua system control number
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- Chamberlain, Brenda -- Archives (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
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
The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volumes VIII and IX (Aberystwyth, 1999, 2003); Archives Network Wales online (viewed 9 April 2009).
Description compiled by Bethan Ifans for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS.