Edith Sitwell Letters

Scope and Content

116 manuscript letters from Edith Sitwell to Choura Tchelitchew, Madame Zaoussailoff, between 1930 and 1962. Most, 87 of the 100 which are dated, were written in the 1930s. With one exception (item 92) the letters are in French, but a brief summary of each is provided in English in the handlist.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edith Louisa Sitwell (1887-1964), the poet and critic, first met Pavel Fyodorovitch Tchelitchew, the Russian migr artist (1898-1957), in Paris in January 1927. She became a firm friend and strong supporter and patron of his, and he was to paint her portrait at least six times. He was then living with his sister Choura (b 1903); she was to marry Alexander Zaoussailoff in 1935. A warm and long-lasting friendship developed between the two women. They frequently dined together in Paris during Edith's stays in the city, and there is ample evidence in the letters of Edith's affectionate concern for Choura and those close to her.

Access Information

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of The Keep's Reading Rooms.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Michel Robineau of Paris shortly before his death in February 1975.


Prepared by John Farrant, August 2002.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is available on The Keep's website.

There is also a handlist which provides a summary of each letter in English..

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.

Custodial History

Bequeathed by Choura Tchelitchew, Madame Zaoussailoff, to Michel Robineau.

Related Material

SxMs 52, The Geoffrey Gorer Archive, contains correspondence with both Sitwell and Pavel Tchelitchew.


The letters have been used in Victoria Glendinning, Edith Sitwell, a unicorn among lions (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1981).

Geographical Names