Papers of Gerald and Joy Finzi

Scope and Content

The collection contains typescript poems collected by the Finzis, including over 700 poems by Valentine Ackland arranged by Sylvia Townsend Warner, and work by Ursula Vaughan Williams and Averil Morley. Correspondence includes 21 letters from Edward, Lord Bridges, to Gerald Finzi 1950-1955, and around 170 letters and cards to Joy Finzi from Louis Bonnerot, Edmund Blunden, Valentine Ackland, Nigel Finzi and Helen Thomas. There is also a manuscript of Thomas Hardy's poem We field women, a manuscript of Edmund Blunden's poem All on a summer's day: a march, a collection of 45 letters from Robert Bridges to Sir Hubert Parry, 1894-1898, and a copy of the address given by Joy Finzi on the opening of the Library's Finzi Book Room in 1974.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gerald Finzi was born in London on July 14th 1901, the son of John Finzi, shipbroker. He studied music under Edward Farrar and Edward Bairstow at York, and counterpoint under R.O. Morris. As a composer he is best remembered for his vocal works, many of which consist of settings of the words of English poets such as Hardy, Wordsworth and Robert Bridges. He also worked to encourage English music in a variety of ways, such as his efforts to preserve and publicise the work of Ivor Gurney, and his formation of the largely amateur Newbury String Players. He died in 1956.

In 1933 Gerald Finzi married Joyce Black, known as Joy, a portrait artist. She died in 1991.

Access Information

Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the Library by Mrs Joy Finzi, 1974.


Description prepared by Bridget Andrews with reference to John C. Dressler, Gerald Finzi: a bio-bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1997).

Other Finding Aids

File level list available.

Related Material

Reading University Library is also home to the Finzi Book Room, containing Finzi's collection of English literature, the Finzi Music Collection, containing Finzi's working collection of scores and books on music, and the Newbury String Players collection of orchestral parts. The Finzi Book Room also houses portraits by Joy Finzi.