Letters from James Ballard Sutton to Philip Arthur Larkin

Scope and Content

This small collection contains letters and postcards from James Ballard Sutton to Philip Larkin spanning 1938-1955 and greetings cards between Sutton and Larkin spanning 1939-1955. There is also later correspondence between Sutton and Larkin spanning 1982-1985 in addition to several carbon copies of Larkin typescripts.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Ballard Sutton and Philip Larkin met at junior school, and along with Colin Gunner the three were good friends. Sutton's and Larkin's shared interest in Jazz brought them closer together and much of their correspondence discusses jazz records and performances. Sutton had ambitions to be a painter, and went on to study at the Slade School of Fine Art after leaving school. Sutton fought in World War II, but the two kept up a steady correspondence while he was away. Their friendship seemed to thrive on separation, which meant that Larkin did not witness in person the erosion of his friend's artistic ambition - in the end Sutton worked as a pharmacist for most of his working life. After an unsuccessful visit to see Larkin in Belfast, where he was working in 1951, their correspondence dwindled to a trickle before ending completely.


U DP182/1 Letters from James Ballard Sutton to Philip Larkin, 1938 - 1952

U DP182/2 Postcards from and to Sutton and Larkin, 1939 - 1955

U DP182/3 Later correspondence between Sutton and Larkin, 1982 - 1985

U DP182/4 Greetings and Christmas cards between Sutton and Larkin, circa 1940 - 1952

U DP182/5 Larkin poetry typescripts (carbons), 1945 - 1946

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader. Photocopies of the correspondence are issued to researchers rather than the originals

Custodial History

Purchased from Daphne Ingram, 27 July 1998

Related Material

Letters from Philip Larkin to James Sutton [U DP174]

Photographs of (and taken by) James Ballard Sutton [U DLV/2/1/10, 15-16, 28]

Correspondence between James Sutton and Philip Larkin [U DPL2/2/25/40]

Negatives of James Sutton [U DLV/3/26]

Postcard. Philip Larkin to James Sutton [U DPL4/5/1]