File NLW MS 23207F. - Brenda Chamberlain letters

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 23207F.


Brenda Chamberlain letters


  • 1934-1988 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

241 ff.

Guarded and filed at NLW.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

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).

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Over eighty letters and cards, 1934-1968, to John Petts from his first wife, the artist and writer Brenda Chamberlain (1912-71), together with related correspondence, 1941-1988, concerning their relationship, including reminiscences of her, 1988, by their friend Elizabeth Jones. Also included are sketches, trial pulls of prints, and a proof copy of a booklet of hand-coloured prints all by Brenda Chamberlain, mainly produced whilst running the Caseg Press, Llanllechid, in partnership with John Petts.

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Related units of description

See also NLW MS 24000F and NLW MS 22863C, which includes letters, 1939-1951, from John Petts to Wesley J. Elliss, relating mainly to works printed at the Caseg Press. For related letters, see NLW MS 23381D.

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Title based on contents.


Preferred citation: NLW MS 23207F.

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Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

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  • Text: NLW MS 23207F.