Item NLW MS 23925E, ff. 20-23. - Gwen John and Cecily Langdale letters,

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 23925E, ff. 20-23.


Gwen John and Cecily Langdale letters,


  • 1930, 1980 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4 ff.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Gwendolen Mary (Gwen) John (1876-1939), painter, was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. She was the sister of fellow artist Augustus John (1878-1961). Between 1895 and 1898 she was a pupil at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, alongside her brother. During her time there she befriended other female artists including Ursula Tyrwhitt and Ida Nettleship, who later married Augustus. She studied at the Academie Carmen in Paris in 1898 and settled permanently in Paris from 1904. In the same year she met, and began a stormy relationship with, the sculptor Auguste Rodin. She was introduced by Augustus to the American lawyer and collector John Quinn and his companion Jeanne Robert Foster. Amongst her circle of friends was the revolutionary, feminist and actress Maud Gonne and Dorelia McNeill, who became Augustus's lifelong companion. In her later years she formed an attachment to the Russian-Jewish émigré Véra Oumançoff, who lived near her in the Paris suburb of Meudon. The majority of her paintings were of women or girls and, from 1913 when she was received into the Catholic church, ecclesiastically-themed works. She was exhibited in Paris, London and New York. It is believed that she ceased to produce any works of art after about 1933. Gwen John died in Dieppe, France, in 1939.
Her nephew Edwin John (1905-1978), son of Augustus, was the chief executor of her will. Following John's death her artistic reputation was revived by numerous exhibitions both in Britain and the United States, beginning with the memorial exhibition at the Matthiesen Gallery, London, in 1946.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Mr Napier Collyns (son of Rachel Collyns); London; Purchase; October 2004; 0200410963.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Letter, 14 June 1930, from Gwen John, Meudon, to fellow artist [Mary] Constance [Lloyd], concerning Ursula Tyrwhitt and her recent indiscretions (f. 20).
Also included are three letters, June-August 1980, from art historian Cecily Langdale, New York, to Mrs Rachel Collyns, Bristol, niece of Mary Constance Lloyd, relating to Gwen John (ff. 21-23), and supplying background information on John's letter and on Tyrwhitt (f. 23).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Arranged chronologically at NLW.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding ownership of Gwen John copyright can be found at (viewed February 2011).

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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

For related correspondence of Gwen John and Constance Lloyd see NLW MS 22300B, f. 41, and NLW MS 22308C, f. 7; for Tyrwhitt's letter to John, [21 May ?1930], see NLW MS 22311D, f. 84.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 23925E, ff. 20-23.

Alternative identifier(s)

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GEAC system control number


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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area

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Physical storage

  • Text: NLW MS 23925E, ff. 20-23.