Correspondence about the Maugham collections of paintings

Scope and Content

This file covers correspondence in relation to the gift by W. Somerset Maugham, who donated his play manuscripts to the Committee, as well as his collection of theatrical paintings with the intention that they would be displayed in the National Theatre when built. The correspondence covers arrangements about the handing over of the collection to the Committee, as well as enquiries from interested parties for research or to obtain photographs of the paintings; also documents instances when the paintings were loaned for exhibitions.

The Maugham Collection of Theatrical Paintings was housed by the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) while the national theatre was being planned and built, the collection was displayed at the National Theatre in the early 1980s but a theft led to its deposit again with the V&A and subsequent display in the Theatre Museum branch of the V&A. On the closure of the Theatre Museum in 2007 the collection was returned to the National Theatre. As the National Theatre still had no adequate facilities for its display and wished to honour Somerset Maugham's intention that it be kept in public view the National gifted the collection to the Holburne Musuem in Bath in November 2010.


The material is arranged chronologically as follows:

- folder 1 of 5: 1946-1950

- folder 2 of 5: 1951-1952

- folder 3 of 5: 1953-1954

- folder 4 of 5: 1955-1960

- folder 5 of 5: 1961-1964, 1966, 1968, 1970-1971; brief history of how Maugham accumulated the collection (no date); black and white photographs of paintings in the collection, some accompanied by captions.

Conditions Governing Access


Related Material

- See SMNT/7/5/3 for manuscripts of plays by W. Somerset Maugham.