Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Imogen Holst

Letter No.: 
VWL1214
[19 September 1937]

From R. Vaughan Williams,
The White Gates,
Westcott Road,
Dorking.

Dear Imogen

How dear of you to send me that message.
They played magnificently.1
I hope the book goes well.2
I have been thinking of two things Gustav once said to me - I don’t know if he ever wrote them to any body - I hope he did for they ought to be recorded
1) About “Aristocracy in art” - art is not for all but only for the chosen few - but the only way to find those few is to bring art to everyone - then the artists have a sort of masonic signal by which they recognise each other in the crowd - he put it much better than that - but that is the gist.
2) That the artist is born again & starts again afresh with every new work.
Love from

Uncle Ralph


1. VW had been to Gloucester to conduct a performance of Dona Nobis Pacem in the Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester. See R.V.W.: a biography, p.215.
2. Imogen Holst was preparing Gustav Holst: a biography, published by the Oxford University Press in 1938.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
HOL/2/7/8/120

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/10, f.91
General notes: 

Date from postmark.
Pencil copy of the letter in Imogen Holst's handwriting preserved in British Library (MS Mus. 1714/1/10, f.91).

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 284
Original database number: 
370919a