Letter to Pauline Baynes
- Publication: Excerpts from the letter have been published in Sotheby's Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts 13 December 2001 and on the web site of Sotheby's (see external link below). Another publication of an excerpt was in the article The greatest letters ever written (unknown author/editor) on June 27, 2007 (in the online edition of The Independent), and in Christie's The Albin Schram Collection of Autograph Letters.
Merton College, Oxford
4 June 1949
Dear Miss Baynes,
I ought to have written to you before to tell you of the great pleasure that your drawings in illustration of “Farmer Giles” have given me. My friends, very justly, said after seeing them that they had reduced the text to a commentary on the pictures.
I have now seen and returned the ‘paste-up’; and though I am glad that so many of the illustrations have been preserved, at least in the sense that they are represented, I am distressed. Ignorant as I am of the costs and of production-processes, I had hoped for a larger page and space. I fear it has done small justice to your beautiful line and pattern to reduce the size so drastically.
Even so, what little value this rather slender ‘squib’ has is much enhanced by your work.
I am hoping soon to get some larger works published, and in a more ample fashion; and if so, I hope you might be interested, or at least have time to consider them. One, a long romance in sequel to The Hobbit, is finished after some years of work, and is being typed. It is held up at the moment, since I am immersed in examinations and other weary business; but when it's done, I wonder if I could prevail on you to glance at it.
I hope that we may perhaps [have the?] opportunity of meeting ere [?]