Williamson-Tunnicliffe Correspondence, 1932-1977

Scope and Content

The collection of 144 items includes three black and white and two colour photographs, four sketches of Henry and Loetitia Williamson by C.F. Tunnicliffe, an unfinished pencil sketch of a nude female, MS and TS letters from Tunnicliffe to Williamson, 1932-1951, correspondence with publishers, hunt meet programmes, press cuttings, MS drafts, picture postcards, telegrams, one proof title page (for Salar the Salmon), unfinished bird sketches, and a letter from Anne Williamson to Tunnicliffe, written after Williamson's memorial service in 1977. Most of the material predates 1951.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Williamson (1895-1977), writer, was born in south London and educated at Colfe's Grammar School, Lewisham. He fought in the army in the First World War and gained a deep sense of the futility of conflict as a result. He worked as a journalist for a short while before writing his first novel, The Beautiful Years, in 1921. This became volume one of a quarter, named The Flax of Dreams. At the same time he moved to North Devon and, in 1927, wrote there Tarka the Otter, the book on which his fame most heavily rests, and A Patriot's Progress (1930), based on his trench experiences. After Salar the Salmon (1935) he became an outspoken supporter of German reform and British fascism, which led to his being briefly interned at the start of the war. His postwar work, which is arguably his most important, is a cycle of fifteen novels entitled, A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, which was completed in 1960.

Charles Frederick Tunncliffe (1901-1979), wildlife painter, etcher and illustrator, was a friend of Williamson's and illustrated a number of his works, including Tarka the Otter andSalar the Salmon.


The collection is arranged by item in order of date of creation.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL conditions apply.


Description compiled by Ian Mortimer, Archivist, 27 November 2001. Hub description entered by Charlotte Berry, 9 September 2003.

Other Finding Aids


Conditions Governing Use

Contact the Archivist for details.

Custodial History

The letters and drawings were collated and arranged by Mr. Philip Craghill in 1981-3. The collection was donated to the University on 10 August 1999.

Related Material

The University of Exeter holds other collections relating to Henry Williamson. Please enquire with the Archivist.