Correspondence sent to Claude Ray relating to Noël Coward

Scope and Content

Materials belonging to, or collected by, Claude Ray detailing his relationship with Noël Coward. Comprises letters, postcards and greetings cards with one photograph of Noël Coward with Sophia Loren. Some items have been signed by Noël Coward, mostly Christmas cards. Addressed to Claude Ray at 1 Burton Mews, London; 3 Burton Mews, London or 215 Albany Street, Regents Park, London.

A number of items are written in French or in a combination of English and French. Correspondence sent to Claude Ray from Cole Lesley was likely written during the four-month period Lesley spent in Paris working for Coward during the French production of 'Present Laughter' ['Joyeux Chagrins'] which was translated by Cole Lesley and starred Noël Coward.

Administrative / Biographical History

It has not proved possible to identify substantial biographical information about Claude Ray. He was the long-term partner of Cole Lesley and, from circa 1949, lived with Lesley in a flat in Burton Mews, Coward's offices in London. Internal evidence suggests that Ray may have been an employee of Noël Coward's.

Cole Lesley, born Leonard Cole, began working for Coward in 1936.

Sources: correspondence sent to Claude Ray; Philip Hoare, 'Noël Coward: a biography', 1996

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Purchased January 2004

Other Finding Aids

Please see full catalogue for more information.

Archivist's Note

Description prepared by Emma Marley, July 2017, in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Director of Special Collections (email: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material

Related Material

Archive collections relating to Noël Coward, and held at the Cadbury Research Library, include:

Noël Coward Collection: papers, 1911-2000. Finding Number: COW;
Papers relating to Noël Coward: papers, [20th century]. Finding Number: MS69;
Material relating to Lila Field's 'The Goldfish': papers, 1911. Finding Number: MS158;
Correspondence sent to Claude Ray relating to Noël Coward: papers, [mid-20th century]. Finding Number: MS188;
Papers of Gladys Calthrop: correspondence, 1927-1979. Finding Number: MS201;
Noël Coward Theatre Programmes: programmes, 1913-1991. Finding Number: MS491;
Gladys Calthrop costume drawings: framed drawings, 1934. Finding Number: MS492;
Noël Coward Posters: posters, 1968-1986. Finding Number: MS497;
Noël Coward and Ivor Novello Cuttings: newspaper and magazine cuttings, 1943-1996. Finding Number: MS498;
Patricia Hollender Collection: correspondence, 1951-1978. Finding Number: MS500;
Play scripts relating to Noël Coward: scripts, [c 1911-c 1950]. Finding Number: MS501;
Images of Noël Coward: images, [1920s-1970s]. Finding Number: MS502;
Noël Coward's 'Present Laughter', typescript for radio adaptation: script, [1956]. Finding Number: MS788;
Photographs of Noël Coward and friends, [1920s-1930s]. Finding Number: MS987;
Noël Coward typescripts, 1947-1952. Finding Number: MS1065.