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Harman Grisewood papers 1

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS131

Scope and Contents

This collection centers around the correspondence and related papers of three important and long-standing friendships of Harman Grisewood: with the poet and artist David Jones; with printer and artist Rene Hague; and with Christopher Sykes, the celebrated biographer of Evelyn Waugh.

Correspondence relating to Jones and Hague, in particular, reflects the social, literary and artistic circles which they and mutual friend Harman Grisewood, shared with acquaintances such as Thomas F. Burns, editor of “The Tablet”; T.S. Eliot; artist Philip Hagreen; Saunders Lewis; eminent archaeologist and historian Nancy K. Sandars; Walter Shewring; and sculptor John Skelton. Many other correspondents include personal friends, solicitors, and government officials such as Sir Anthony Bevir, Sir Hugh Fraser, Kenneth Clark, and the Countess of Moray, all of whom were concerned friends and benefactors of David Jones.

The series of correspondence about David Jones should be noted for the letters from many well-known Jones scholars including David Blamires, editor of the David Jones Society Newsletter; William Blissett; Thomas Dilworth; Arthur Giardelli; Nicolete Gray; and Paul Hills, whose work on Jones appears in John Matthias' definitive book, “David Jones: Man and Poet,” (1989).

Notable works on David Jones cited in this finding aid include the following --

Blissett, William. The Long Conversation - A Memoir of David Jones. (Oxford University Press, 1981). Hague, Rene. Dai Greatcoat - A Self-Portrait of David Jones in his Letters. (London & Boston: Faber and Faber, 1980).

Matthias, John. David Jones: Man and Poet. (National Poetry Foundation, Inc., University of Maine, 1989).

Useful works about Rene Hague and Christopher Sykes include: for the Hague, Barbara Wall's “Rene Hague - A Personal Memoir,” (Aylesford Press, 1989; cf. folder 8:11 of this collection); and for Sykes, “The Letters of Evelyn Waugh,” edited by Mark Amory (Ticknor and Fields, 1980). The Booth Family Center for Special Collections holds papers of Christopher Sykes GTMGamms207.

Paintings by David Jones have been represented at the following exhibitions and galleries: the Venice Biennale International Exhibition of Fine Arts, 1934; the Goupil Gallery, 1929; the National Gallery, London, 1940, 1941, 1942, in Paris 1945, and in New York 1952-53; the Tate Gallery, London, 1954-55; the National Book League, London, 1972; and at various times in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Aberystwyth and Swansea, Wales. Note also the David Jones memorial exhibition held jointly by Kettle's Yard Gallery, Cambridge, and the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, February 1975 (see exhibition catalog available in the Rare Books Collection, Riedel NB 630.J63 D38 1975).

In 2009, the Booth Family Center for Special Collections held an exhibition, “David Jones: a painter of words and his circle.”

For a list of collections around the world that include Jones' artwork, see "David Jones: Man and Poet," by John Matthias (1989, pp.545 551).


  • 1916-1989
  • Majority of material found within 1950-1980

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical notes

Harman (Joseph Gerard) Grisewood was born on February 8, 1906, in Broxbourne, England; the son of Harman Grisewood, a lieutenant colonel in the British Army, and Lucille Cardozo. He was educated at the Benedictine Ampleforth College in Yorkshire, as was his friend and contemporary Rene Hague. He completed his university degree at Worcester College, Oxford (1924-1927).

Grisewood began his long association with the BBC in 1929 as a member of the repertory company. He became an announcer in 1933, and assistant to the program organizer in 1936. In 1939, he was made assistant director of program planning; and from 1939 to 1941, he was assistant controller of the European Division. From 1941 through 1945, Grisewood was acting controller of the European Division. In 1945 he became director of talks. His work with the Third Programme began as planner, in 1947 until 1948, when he became controller. He was director of the “Spoken Word” from 1952 to 1955; and was chief assistant to the director-general from 1955 to 1964.

Grisewood was vice-president of the European Broadcasting Union from 1953 to 1954. He was Welsh national lecturer in 1966, at which time a group photograph was taken with, among others, David Jones, Douglas Cleverdon, and Saunders Lewis (see Folder 8:20). He was also a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. Awards and honors held by Grisewood include the King Christian X Freedom Medal, 1946; Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1960; and Knight of the Order of Malta, 1960.

An author and editor, Grisewood's published works include editions of David Jones: “Epoch and Artist: Selected Writings,” (London: Faber &Faber, 1959; New York: Chilmark, 1963); “The Dying Gaul and Other Writings,” (London & Boston: Faber & Faber, 1978); and “The Roman Quarry and Other Sequences,” edited with Rene Hague (London: Agenda Editions, 1981). Grisewood authored several novels and an autobiography, “One Thing at a Time,” (Hutchinson, 1968). His essay, “The Painted Kipper: A Study of the Spurious in the Contemporary Scene,” (C.A. Watts, 1970), is referred to in his correspondence in this collection. From 1949 to 1952, Grisewood was the editor of “The Dublin Review.”

Harman Grisewood died at his home in Eye, Suffolk, on January 6, 1997.

Biographical source: Contemporary Authors - Permanent Series, and Who's Who 1992.


David (Michael) Jones was born in Brockley, Kent, England, on November 1, 1895. His father, James Jones, was a printer's overseer, and his mother was Alice Ann Bradshaw. Jones attended the Camberwell School of Art from 1909 to 1914. His education was then interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War, during which he was an infantryman in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, serving with the 15th Battalion from 1915 to 1918. In 1919, Jones returned to Camberwell. From 1919 to 1921 he attended Westminster Art School.

In 1922, Jones worked with craftsman Eric Gill at Ditchling Common, Sussex, until 1924. In 1925, Gill moved to Capel-y-ffin, in the valley of the Honddu, north of Abergavenny, Wales. Jones followed him, painting landscapes at Capel and on Caldy Island where he stayed at the Benedictine monastery until 1925. Jones had converted to Roman Catholicism in 1921. In 1928, Gill moved to Pigotts in Buckinghamshire where he set up a printing press with Rene Hague in a farmhouse some five miles from High Wycombe. Jones, who resided with his parents at this time in Brockley, south-east London, would stay occasionally at Pigotts until 1935, when he moved to Fort Hotel, Sidmouth in Devon.

Throughout most of the Second World War (1939 to 1945), Jones lived with friends or in lodgings in London. By the end of the war, he was in poor health, physically and mentally, having suffered for years, from his experiences in the trenches of World War I, with chronic neurasthenia. In 1946, he was invited to stay with Helen Sutherland, a friend and benefactor, at Cockley Moor. A year later, at the recommendation of his friend and doctor Charles Burns (brother of Thomas F. Burns), he removed to Bowden House, a private nursing home at Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex. Jones remained there under the care of doctors Crichton Miller and 'Bill' Stevenson until the end of 1947. From 1948 to 1964, Jones lived at Northwick Lodge in Harrow-on-the-Hill. In 1964 he moved to another part of Harrow, to the Monksdene Hotel, where he resided until his stroke and fall in 1970. He spent his last four years in the Calvary Nursing Home of the Blue Sisters, on Sudbury Hill, Harrow. Jones died at the Calvary Nursing Home on October 28, 1974. (A detailed chronology Jones’ life is provided in “David Jones: Man and Poet,” by John Matthias, 1989, pp.33-38.)

Major poetical and prose works by Jones include:

In Parenthesis. (London: Faber & Faber, 1937; New York: Chilmark, 1962). The Anathemata: Fragments of an Attempted Writing (London: Faber & Faber, 1952; New York: Chilmark, 1963). Epoch and Artist: Selected Writings, edited by Harman Grisewood (London: Faber & Faber, 1959; New York: Chilmark, 1963). The Fatigue. (Cambridge: Rampant Lions, 1965). The Tribune's Visitation (London: Fulcrum, 1969). An Introduction to the Rime of the Ancient Mariner (London: Clover Hill, 1972). The Sleeping Lord and Other Fragments (London: Faber & Faber, 1974; New York: Chilmark, 1974). The Kensington Mass (London: Agenda Editions, 1975). Use & Sign (Ipswich: Golgonooza Press, 1975). The Dying Gaul and Other Writings, edited by Harman Grisewood (London & Boston: Faber & Faber, 1978). The Roman Quarry and Other Sequences, edited by Harman Grisewood and Rene Hague (London: Agenda Editions, 1981).

Biographical sources include: Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 20, p.182; Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Vol 28.


Rene Hague was born in London in 1905 of Irish parents. According to Barbara Wall, little is known of his father except that he was a university lecturer in Ireland and France, who died young. Information about Hague’s mother is equally scanty. Wall describes her briefly in a memoir on Hague, as becoming a nun shortly after she was widowed. Hague was educated at Ampleforth College, Yorkshire, and was probably a schoolmate of Harman Grisewood. He was an outstanding pupil and won a classical scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford. He did not remain at Oxford, however, and in 1924, at the age of 19, he went to live at Capel y ffin with Father Joseph Woodford, OSB, a monk of Caldey. In August 1924, Eric Gill settled with his family in Capel y ffin, having left Ditchling Common in Sussex, where he had lived and worked since 1907, with fellow Catholic craftsmen such as Hilary Pepler, printer and founder of St. Dominic's Press. Hague would spend another year at Capel, where he met David Jones through Gill, and fell in love with Gill's daughter Joan.

The next five years, from about 1924 to 1929, Hague spent in London where he worked in George Coldwell's Catholic second-hand bookshop in Red Lion Passage, Holborn. In London, his friendship with Jones grew. The latter introduced Hague to his circle which included Jim and Helen Ede, Dr. Charles Burns and his brother Tom Burns, as well as Bernard Wall and Harman Grisewood. Hague's developing interest in printing coincided with Gill's growing desire to produce his own work as an engraver and essayist. In 1930, Gill moved to a farmhouse at Pigotts in Buckinghamshire and set up the Pigotts Press with Hague. Rene Hague married Joan Gill at this time, and together with the Gill family, would reside at Pigotts until 1963.

The Press was closed in 1941 after Gill's death, and throughout the war, when Hague joined the Royal Air Force, until 1946. The Press was reestablished in 1946, but was discontinued permanently in 1956. Press records show that printing was done for nearly 20 publishers including Faber & Faber, J.M. Dent, Sheed & Ward, the Harvill Press, Rupert Hart Davis, Cassell, and Collins. In the words of Barbara Wall, "The most outstanding printing achievement of Hague & Gill was David Jones' book… ‘In Parenthesis’ published by Faber & Faber in 1937." During the post war period, Hague also worked for the new Third Programme of the BBC, established in 1946 with Harman Grisewood as controller. Hague made adaptations and translations from Old French literature including the "Chanson de Roland." After the press closed, Hague sustained his wife and family on odd jobs, including proof reading for the Cambridge University Press; revising the Greater Oxford Dictionary; and indexing books for authors.

In 1958, Barbara and Bernard Wall moved to Pigotts. The latter was an accomplished and successful translator of many French and Italian texts. His special interest was in the Continental Catholic thinkers such as Jacques Maritain and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. It was through Bernard Wall, that Hague became the prime translator of the works of the French Jesuit and paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin. In 1963, Joan and Rene Hague relocated from Pigotts to Shanagarry, Cork, Ireland, where they would reside for many years until their respective deaths on December 25, 1980, and January 19, 1981.

Source: Barbara Wall, "Rene Hague A Personal Memoir" (Aylesford Press, 1989; Folder 8:11).


Christopher Sykes -- Biographical information is available in the finding aid for the Christopher Sykes papers GTMGamms207.

A contemporary of Harman Grisewood and Rene Hague, Sykes was born at Menethorpe near Malton, England, on November 17, 1907. He was also their schoolmate at Ampleforth College, later attending Christ Church, Oxford. A prolific writer, journalist, novelist and biographer, Sykes was a colleague of Harman Grisewood at the BBC, serving as a committee member of the Third Programme, first as a script writer and producer in the Features department; and later in the Talks department.

Sykes died on December 9, 1986.


5.75 Linear Feet (10 Hollinger boxes: 8 Document Cases, 1 Slim Document Case, 1 Drop-front flat case (20x24").)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Harman Grisewood, circa 1990.

Harman Grisewood papers 1
Lisette Matano, Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
circa 1990-1991
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057