Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) and others
Autograph letter signed ('Evelyn') to Robin Campbell, Stinchcombe, 27 December 1945
with letters by Norton Nicholls (1741-1809): two autograph letters to his mother, Chateau D’Aubonne, 6 and 15 August 1771, including his reaction to the death of Thomas Gray; and Ted Hughes (1930-1998): autograph letter signed ('Ted') to Nicholas Grant, Devon, 8 May 1989; [And:] four drawings by Hughes, and a related printed item. Provenance: Sotheby's, 25 July 1975 and Christie's, 29 May 1986, lot 225.

Waugh offers his views on aesthetics and Picasso. Waugh defends a recent letter he wrote to The Times with a fierce attack on Picasso who, he claims, fails as an artist and is a symbol of decadence and the decline of Western civilisation – ‘the only criticisms valid for him are: "Ooh doesn’t it make you feel funny inside" or "the fellow’s a charlatan"' – including Gertrude Stein in his criticism (‘aesthetically in the same position as, theologically, a mortal-sinner who has put himself outside the world order of God’s mercy’). Ted Hughes encloses four drawings entitled 'The Candlestick', 'The Wolf Spitting Flames', 'God Clasping His Head' and 'The Bat' in a letter to Grant ,apologising ‘I’m afraid there are only four. Two or three others I tried weren’t getting anywhere so rather than delay – here are four, which I quite like’. In two letters to his mother, Nicholls first describes a trip to Switzerland: ‘here we lay amidst eternal snow [...] the sun shone bright & the weather was that of a fine sharp day in winter – before this we had seen the Glacier of Grindelwald’. Later, he writes on the death of Thomas Gray, lamenting that he has lost ‘all that was most dear to me in this World except yourself’ but reassuring her ‘you need not be alarmed for me, I am well, & not subject to emotions violent enough to endanger my health’, despite claiming, ‘at present I feel that I have lost half of myself’.

Robin Campbell, the future Director of Art of the Arts Council, believed that the letter Waugh had written for The Times was a hoax and had therefore written to his friend to confirm: the present letter is Waugh’s response.
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