Search the letters

The Vaughan Williams Foundation has made over 5000 items freely available: chiefly letters from Ralph Vaughan Williams, but including some responses which shed light on the subject matter, and also a number of letters from Adeline and Ursula Vaughan Williams. These provide further information and often include messages or observations from Ralph, and there are also letters from Adeline and Ursula written on behalf of the couple. The text of letters written by RVW and UVW remain the copyright of the Foundation.

Searching:
The letters are in tabular form and can be sorted by column, or filtered by any keyword including name, musical title, year or subject (singly or in combination). Partial matches will also be found, e.g. searching “sky” will also find “Stravinsky”. To search for a phrase use inverted commas, e.g. “New York”.

To search by letter number, include the prefix VWL, e.g. VWL123.

Filter letters

Letter No. Title Date Date on Letter
VWL5255 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Beatrice Harrison 19481014 14 October, 1948.
VWL5254 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19510520 20 May 1951
VWL5253 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19511225 Xmas Day [1951]
VWL5252 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19481014 14th October, 1948.
VWL5251 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19501018 18th October, 1950
VWL5250 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19480603 3rd June 1948
VWL5249 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19471113 13th November, 1947
VWL5248 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19471017 Oct 17 1947
VWL5247 Letter from Adeline Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19470711 July 11 1947
VWL5246 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19430706 July 6 1943
VWL5245 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19410402 April 2 1941
VWL5244 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19360215 February 16 1936
VWL5243 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Beatrice Harrison 19430910 10 Sep [1943]
VWL5242 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19441226 Dec 26 [1944]
VWL5241 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19400727 July 27 [1940s]
VWL5240 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19450625 June 25 [1945?]
VWL5239 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19401206 Dec 6 [1940?]
VWL5238 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19471006 6 Oct 1947
VWL5237 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19431225 Xmas Day [1943]
VWL5236 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19501016 Oct 16 [1950]
VWL5235 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to May Harrison 19480426 26 Apr [1948]
VWL5217 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to André Mangeot 192----- March 13 [1920s]
VWL5216 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to André Mangeot 192----- [1920s]
VWL5213 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to André Mangeot 19231210 Monday [10 December 1923]
VWL5211 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to André Mangeot 192----- [between 1921 and 1929]
VWL5210 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to André Mangeot 19490324 24th March, 1949.
VWL4966 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Sylvia Spencer 19491123 23rd November, 1949.
VWL4965 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Sylvia Spencer 19360319 March 19 [1936]
VWL4711 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Miss Thackeray 19400831 Aug 31 1940
VWL4562 Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Harold Watkins Shaw 19540601 June 1st 1954

You have never lost your invention but it has not developed enough.  Your best – your most original and beautiful style or ‘atmosphere’ is an indescribable sort of feeling as if one was listening to very lovely lyrical poetry.

GUSTAV HOLST letter to RVW 1903

He was one of the most 'complete' men I have ever known. He loved life, he loved work and his interest in all music was unquenchable and insatiable.

SIR JOHN BARBIROLLI, conductor

I was thunderstruck by the symphony last night - and hadn't expected to be. Jagged, pulsating and angry, from that very first clanging dissonance - how can it have come from the same source as the Tallis Fantasia?

AUDIENCE MEMBER, Newbury Festival