File NLW MS 23713E. - The Fire and the Fountain

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 23713E.


The Fire and the Fountain


  • 1974-1975 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

84 ff. (text mainly on rectos).

Guarded and filed at NLW. Photographs encapsulated in melinex sleeves at NLW.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator

Biographical history

Name of creator


Biographical history

Mary Taubman (née Edmond, 1929-2010) was an artist and author and was recognised as a leading authority on Gwen John.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Michael Holroyd is a well-known biographer and writer. He was born 27 August 1935 in London to Basil Holroyd and his Swedish wife Ulla (née Hall). He received his education at Eton College and Maidenhead Public Library. In 1982 he married the writer Margaret Drabble and they live in London and Somerset. He was Chairman of the Society of Authors, 1973-1974, President of English PEN from 1985 to 1988, and Chairman of the Strachey Trust between 1900 and 1995. In 1988 he was awarded the Irish Life Arts Award and the CBE in 1989 for services to literature. A former member of the Arts Council he lectures around the world on behalf of the British Council and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. The universities of Ulster, Sheffield, Warwick, East Anglia and the London School of Economics have presented him with honorary degrees.
Michael Holroyd is the biographer of Hugh Kingsmill, Lytton Strachey, Augustus John and Bernard Shaw, and in 2002 a selection of his writings relating to biography and autobiography was published under the title Works on Paper: The Craft of Biography and Autobiography. The film 'Carrington' is based on Lytton Strachey and won awards at Cannes. His novel A Dog's Life was published in the USA in 1969 and in 1973 his volume of essays Unreceived Opinions was published. Michael Holroyd has also written various radio and television scripts. In 1999 his autobiography Basil Street Blues was published.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Mr Eric Rowan; Church Stretton; Donation (with NLW ex 1921); 1998; A1998/82.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Scripts, letters and photographs, 1974-1975, relating to the production of 'Augustus and Gwen: The Fire and the Fountain', a television documentary film about Augustus John and Gwen John, written by Eric Rowan and first transmitted, 19 March 1975, on BBC2.
The papers comprise a location list, [1974] (ff. 1-3), dubbing script, 25 February 1975 (ff. 4-31), and post-shoot script, [January 1975] (ff. 32-63); letters to Eric Rowan from Michael Holroyd, 1974 (ff. 64-66), Caspar John, [5] August 1974 (f. 67, postcard), Edwin John, 1974-1975 (ff. 68-70, 73), Poppet Pol, 4 October 1974 (f. 75), Romilly John, 1974-1975 (ff. 76-77 verso), and Mary Taubman, 9 October 1974 (ff. 78-79, incomplete); draft and copy letters of Eric Rowan to Edwin John, [December 1974], 19 February 1975 (ff. 71-72, 74); and five photographs taken during the filming in Provence of Poppet Pol's contribution, [Summer 1974] (ff. 80-84).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged at NLW as scripts, correspondence and photographs.

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.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Proofs of an article by Rowan in The Listener, based on the final script, are now NLW ex 1921; an interview with Eric Rowan, recorded on minidisk in May 1998 (MD5), audio copies of some of the interviews conducted for the documentary and several copies of the film (including UM 358) are available at the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 23713E.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


CAIRS System Control Number


GEAC system control number


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 2009.


  • English



Archivist's note

Description revised by Rhys Morgan Jones.

Accession area

Related genres

Related places

Physical storage

  • Text: NLW MS 23713E; $q - Photographs encapsulated in melinex sleeves at NLW.