George Charles Beresford (1864-1938) was a close friend of Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), the author, at the United Services College, Westward Ho! in Devon, in 1878-82. Beresford went on to the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper's Hill and to India early in 1887 but, suffering badly from the heat, returned to England within two years. In 1897-8 he attended the Slade School of Fine Art, was associated with Augustus John, Ambrose McEvoy and, especially, William Orpen, and exhibited sculpture at the Royal Academy in 1900 and 1901. By 1903 he was a successful portrait photographer. Later he was also an art and antique dealer, with a studio and gallery in Knightsbridge, living a double life, with a home in Brighton with his mistress and two children, where he passed under the name of George Arthur Wilson. (See Nick Wilson, 'George Charles Beresford and George Arthur Wilson', The Kipling Journal , 301 (March 2002), 22-4; and an obituary in The Kipling Journal, 45 (March 1938), 27-8).
Kipling's Stalky stories, collected together in Stalky & Co in 1899, relates chiefly to himself, his school friends, the College and Stalky. Beresford was the original model of M'Turk. Prompted by the great interest in Kipling's schooldays engendered by these tales, Beresford was in 1899 writing his own account of those days, more true to the fact, he asserted, than Kipling's. But he decided against publishing in Kipling's lifetime, though submitted his manuscript to Gollancz within a few weeks of Kipling's death. Schooldays with Kipling appeared later in 1936, illustrated with sketches he had made at the time. Beresford was a founder in 1927, with membership number 1, of the Kipling Society.
He died of heart failure in Brighton on 21 February 1938.
The collection complements the other Kipling archives held by the University of Sussex and relates richly and felicitously to the papers of Lionel Dunsterville, the model for Stalky (see SxMs 67). These two collections provide a unique and authoritative picture of Kipling's schooldays and the friends who shared them. They also throw intimate light on how the writer was regarded by his school companions as the years passed.