Autograph letter signed to his friend [Helene] Lanie Bruce
Woodcroft, Wallington, Surrey. No Publisher. 1931.
Autograph letter signed; 8vo; three pages, Woodcroft, Wallington, Surrey, 1st November 1931 to his friend Helene Bruce ('Lanie dear'). Peake writes, "guess who is writing to you? 'It is the last person you would expect. and one whom you have given up as an ungrateful and bad mannered young cub - yet t'is he, the very Mervyn. O Lanie I wish you were with me now. I could talk such a hell of a lot, tous to say and everything, and I never could write. As for the not writing before, I take it that you have forgiven me....I have written to you a million times mentally...thousands and thousands of wild and marvellous things have happened. Ah God to see you again... I suppose you know nothing -marriages- divorces, RA's etc.
Ah well. 'Out of London, out in the wilds' as they say ... Got a picture in the Academy this year, and have sold 4 all ogether
-total £7.7. It's all gone- bought a corduroy suit - double breasted - damned snappy...Had a marvellous holiday... Went to Sark... Eric Drake and his American wife were there. Marvellous. Sark is Paradise, without any damned angels getting in the light .Paint, paint, paint. I am doing nothing else, except drawing, modelling & writing. Have written a 1000 line poem 'Pygmalion' and was well on in an opera 'Saul', which was better, but left it in a bus. I feel so wild. The other day I was taken to 'Romano's' restaurant in Soho. Best cooking in London - Marvellous. And he's going to hang my pics on his walls - 'O Baby - she's my cuty now'. Goodbye Old Compton Street and the Black Cat eh! Dirty old hovel. Romano's Ho! All the
fat Americans go there Lady Dillwater , Lord Drainwater, Viscount Dishwater from Little Puddleton-on-the-Slush etc. O Boy,
Lanie sweetheart - I never knew what art was or painting or drawing or anything when you were here - not that I do now, but things are beginning to move. I am going to draw Cochran's chorus girls in the Ballet school - Free permit - isn't
that great and I'll knock old Degas into a cocked hat ... greatest artist of the ballet ever. I'll never forget Kensington, the cigarettes, gas fire, being put in my place - Old Bobbie taking us to the flicks ... Great chap Bobbie - I hope you realise that.
I see him morein perspective than you do ... Is there any chance of you coming back soon. I do hope so ... Lanie - all women grow dim to me after a month or two... But I always remember you, and the one thing on God's Earth I'd like to do now is to be talking to you...I've grown a bit - and I've just realised how I've been wasting my time ...there are such colossal things to be done...Please write to me.... I always have adored you. From the old Romantic who ...never forgets, Mervyn. The letter predates what was thought to be his earliest visit to Sark. Peake's early career in the 1930s was as a painter in London, although he lived on Sark for a time, first moving there in 1932. Eric Drake, his former teacher, was setting up an artists' colony on the island and in 1934 Peake exhibited with the Sark artists both in the Gallery built by Drake and at the Cooling Galleries in London, and in 1935 he exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the Leger Galleries in London. Letters from Helene Bruce to both Mervyn and Maeve Peake can be found in the Mervyn Peake archive at the British Library. A scarce letter, written in his tiny neat hand, folded for posting otherwise fine.