While talking with Johnny Mains we were trying to see if there was a link between Alan Bott and Herbert van Thal. They were both friendly with Sir Hugh Walpole and it is a distinct possibility that they could have met up socially at Brackenburn, Walpole’s house in the Lake District. Walpole, to celebrate his 50th birthday had privately printed and bound in vellum by The University Press, Glasgow 100 copies of his work “Extracts From A Diary’ which he intended to give to his friends at his party.
Unfortunately he wasn’t well on his birthday so the party was delayed as shown in a letter he wrote to Alan Bott. I was wondering if val Thal got one as well so I have been trying to track down other copies but although I have the following numbers and their locations only a couple have their recipients name.
- 03 TIKiT Resources
- 09 Library Of Congress
- 18 University Of Tulsa
- 29 Yale University
- 37 National Library Of Scotland
- 40 Huntington Library
- 44 Stanford University
- 45 University Of Melbourne
- 46 Lilly Library
- 49 UCLA Library
- 65 Alexander Turnbull Library
- 71 Simon Dunant
- 84 Boston University
- 87 University Of Texas
- 88 Bodlleian Library
- 89 British Library
- 92 Cambridge University
- 93 London Library
- 94 British Library
- ?? University of York
Thank you to all the libraries that took the time to reply to my enquiries to check numbers and dedications etc.
I am a huge Walpole collector and am desperate for a copy of Extracts (have spent years trying to track down a copy in vain). Any chance you have any leads as to where I could find it? I’ve spoken to several dealers who have never even seen a copy.
HI Eve, Thanks for getting in touch but I don’t think I can help you as I’m sure you must have explored all the possible avenues like I would. I was lucky in that I wasn’t searching for Walpole but Alan Bott and the book and the letter came up from a seller in Wales. As you no doubt saw I did try to track down all the other copies but only 18 so far and all those I found wwre in unviversity libraries. I really don’t know how many are out there in ‘the wild’ but never give up hope.Fingers crossed, Tim
Thank you for your reply. I do have his The Crystal Box which I must be content with in the meantime- only 100 copies were printed just like Extracts.
If you ever do decide you want to sell Extracts please let me know. I am willing to pay several thousand dollars for it. It’s one of my holy grails!
Hi Eve, I’ll keep a lookout for a copy but you are probably already looking in the same places. Just counted the list of copies I have tracked down as 18 so just think there are another 82 out there somewhere so maybe one day …….? Regards, Tim
I have copy #71 of Extracts From A Diary in my extensive private collection of Hugh Walpole’s work which is not unfortunately dedicated to any individual, I also have some items relating to the Book Society that I’ve accumulated via my research for my blog on HW. If I come across any connection between Bott and Van Thal I’ll report back!
Hi Simon, Many thanks for the comment especially on a blog from a few years ago. It reminds me it is another question that still remains unanswered “Did Walpole and van Thal’ know each other? In the original post I mentioned Johnny Mains and his biography of van Thal and by a strange coincidence I heard from him last week to say he is currently writing an update version with more information from the van Thal archives so maybe all will be revealed? As for Alan Bott I would love to get a photo of him with Walpole as they must have mixed socially quite a lot hence Walpole dedicating two publications to him. Finally would it be OK if I added you to the list of ‘Extract’ owners on my short list. I got my copy #3 complete with letter to Alan Bott from a bookseller on AbeBooks for a couple of pounds and it included ‘The Blue Crystal’ but sad to say I’ve know idea where that has gone, Hopefully communicate again soon, All the best, Tim
Hi Tim, please feel free to add me to the list of Extract owners on the short list, this post is a great resource and one I shall mention and link to in a future post about Hugh’s autobiographical work that I’m working on for my website – and I’ve always been intrigued to find out how many of the 100 printed copies of ‘Extracts’ might have survived – its amazing how many wonderful and interesting people like yourself I meet online thanks to Hugh Walpole’s work.
Walpole was great friends with the Bott family, he stayed with them at Ham House in the year before his death as Hugh’s Piccadilly flat had taken some bomb damage, so when in London he didn’t have a workable base (he also had stayed with his companion’s family – Harold Cheevers + family – in Hampstead but that took bomb damage too). I believe that Harold Cheevers might have corresponded with Bott after Hugh’s death in 1941 too.
Thanks for the reply and keep up the great work!
Hi Simon, You are now added to the list and this has inspired me to have another go at tracking down the other numbers. I have tried all the libraries listed on WorldCat hence the results I have but the must be other avenues. Annoyingly I borrowed Simon Bott’s photo album which had many photos of his father Alan and maybe with Hugh. Unfortunately, not long after I scanned them all in and sent them back to Alan’s Grandson the harddisk crashed and I lost the lot. One day I’ll pluck up the courage to ask if I can borrow them again. Keep in touch, Regards, Tim
Hugh Walpole’s house was Brackenburn, not Brackenwood!
Sorry to be s pedant but my mother stayed with him during the war until his death.
Hi Dee, Many thanks for pointing out the mistake, I endeavour to be accurate and in other blogs I do get it right. My excuse is that I spent my early years in a house called ‘Brackenwood’ so it was probably my subconscious at work. I would love to know if your Mother could recall Alan Bott, founder of PAN Books, and a friend of the Walpoles actually staying at ‘Brackenburn’ Alan died suddenly in 1952 but there could have been an overlap? Cheers, Tim