Letters From Mervyn Peake (part 1)

Scope and Content

Autograph letters and poem to his wife Maeve Gilmore.


  • 'The Dwarf of Battersea': ballad poem written for Maeve with introduction by Mervyn and sketch of Mervyn watching the Dwarf seize Maeve; 1937 (8 leaves plus envelope).


  • 'My sweetest, my most dear darling Maeve': with drawing in pen and ink and coloured wash on verso of horses drowning; undated [but probably from 1942 as Mervyn mentions asking for leave to visit his wife on the birth of their child (probably Fabian) - see G Peter Winnington, Mervyn Peake's Vast Alchemies (London: Peter Owen, 2009), p.175.] (1 leaf).
  • ‘My Maeve, my own dear, dear Maeve’: inscribed 'Clitheroe'; undated [1942 - on the birth of Fabian] (1 leaf ).
  • ‘My more than ever darling girl’; undated [December 1943]; originally with Embankment Gardens envelope postmarked ‘18’ (3 leaves).

To 94 Wepham, Arundel from Chelsea:

  • ‘Most loved, most lovely and most dear’: contains small sketch of horse's head; postmarked 4 July 1944 (2 leaves plus envelope).
  • ‘Most dearest darling’: postmarked 5 July 1944 (2 leaves plus envelope).
  • ‘My own sweet wife’: 13 July 1944 (1 leaf plus envelope).
  • ‘Dearest of all’: postmarked 15 July 1944 (1 leaf plus envelope).
  • ‘Maeve’: contains small drawing of advertising man's head; postmarked 17 July 1944 (1 leaf plus envelope).
  • ‘My very darling’: 26 July 1944 (4 leaves plus envelope marked ‘LATE FEE’).
  • ‘Dearest sweetheart’: postmarked 2 August 1944 (2 leaves plus envelope).
  • ‘Maeve Maeve’: with envelope dated 12 August 1944 inscribed 'Maeve (To be opened when you are alone this evening)' (1 leaf plus envelope).

To Groombridge Nursing Home from Chelsea:

  • ‘My darling heart’: inscribed 'Lees. Kings Rd.'; postmarked 15 August 1944 (1 leaf plus envelope).
  • ‘My most darling Maeve’: postmarked 16 August 1944 (2 leaves plus envelope).
  • ‘My own’: 17 August 1944 (1 leaf plus envelope)

Also includes two silhouettes of a female figure [Maeve?] with an envelope addressed to Maeve in Mervyn Peake's hand.


British Library arrangement. Silhouettes were originally found amongst Maeve's loose papers, not with her correspondence.

Conditions Governing Access


Not Public Record(s)