Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Gilbert Murray

Letter No.: 
VWL368
April 25th [1911]

13 Cheyne Walk
Chelsea, S.W.

Dear Professor Murray

I do not know whether you are at all interested in the work of Mr Cecil Sharp in collecting and spreading the knowledge of our traditional folk-songs & dances.
I venture to write to you about this because a movement is on foot to present a petition to the Prime Minister to make him a grant from the civil list.1
Mr Sharp has, as I daresay you know, discovered and made accessible an immense mass of English traditional art - poetry, music & dancing - of which we were, a few years ago, entirely ignorant, and his discoveries are not only of great antiquarian and scientific interest but of vital artistic value besides being educationally very important.
To do this work Mr Sharp has given up time which might have been spent in remunerative work and the expense of travelling about the country and finding material is considerable - of course his publications bring in a little - but this is an entirely inadequate return for his outlay. Besides this Mr Sharp is always willing to lecture for little or no remuneration, and this willingness is taken full advantage of! If his work is to continue some means of support must be found.
If you consider that Mr Sharp’s work is of sufficient importance and interest would you be so very kind as to sign the petition.
We have already obtained the signatures of most of the folklore experts besides musicians like Sir C.V. Stanford; we are represented on the literary side by Hardy, Masefield & others.
Yours very truly

R. Vaughan Williams


1. The petition was successful; see VWL335.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Gilbert Murray 116, ff. 78-79
General notes: 

Gilbert Murray was Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford.

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 67
Original database number: 
110425