Correspondence of John Aldridge

Scope and Content

John Aldridge, landscape painter, illustrator and gardener, and his wife Lucie (née Saunders) were friends of Graves and Laura Riding in the 1930s: Aldridge provided the illustrations for Riding's 'The Book of the Dead'. There are two items of correspondence from Aldridge to Riding in the collection: the reason for their presence here is not clear. After leaving America in 1939, Robert and Beryl Graves came to stay with the Aldridges at The Place, their house in Great Bardfield, Essex. Aldridge's correspondence during the second world war covers his training and wartime service, latterly in the interpretation of aerial photography. It also discusses his artistic work, including the design of book jackets for some of Graves's publications, notably 'Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth' (1940). Occasionally letters bear pen and ink sketches. The post-war correspondence discusses Aldridge's work at the Slade and the Royal Academy, and his painting, including his portrait of Graves excecuted in 1968 in Deyá. Aldridge and his second wife Gretl, the widow of Norman Cameron, spent many holidays in Deyá in the 1960s and 1970s, on several occasions with Aldridge's colleague Ian Jenkin. There are nine letters and one postcard (some may be drafts) from Graves to Aldridge: the reason for their presence here is not clear. The first, written during the second world war, uses the versos of pages 207 and 208 of a ts draft with ms annotations of 'Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth'. The postcard, bearing a photograph of William Graves aged 3 months [1941], is not addressed but appears to have been written to Aldridge. There is also one letter from Julia Simon to Aldridge (28 September 1972) and one from Aldridge to Tom Matthews (22 March 1979); again, the reason for their presence here is not clear. The series also contains three letters from Aldridge's half-sister Diana, Lady Mancroft, to Beryl Graves, at the time of Gretl's death and Aldridge's final illness in 1983; also Aldridge's obituary, order of funeral service, and an exhibition catalogue. The series also contains a collection of photographs of John Aldridge, dating from 1928 to 1976. Photographs include Elizabeth Cameron and her brother, Aldridge posing as a Roman statute, Lucie Aldridge, evacuee children, Gretl Aldridge, The Place and its gardens, and examples of Aldridge's work including paintings of the Cala road canyon (Deyá) and a portrait of Dr Fritz Bajardi.


Ordered by correspondent and recipient, and then in approximate chronological order; there are a large number of letters which are only partially dated.


Canelluñ Collection number: CC0430

This refers to the arrangement of the papers in Robert Graves’ study before they were transferred to the College.

Custodial History

The postcard of William Graves [1941] was originally found in the correspondence of Robert and Beryl Graves RG/J/GravesBeryl. Photographs came from box 20, miscellaneous [WG ref CC2742].

Geographical Names