Lot 292: Du Maurier, Daphne

IAA

2015-09-16 14:06:56

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Lot 292: Du Maurier Daphne: (1907-1989) British Author. An Excellent A.L.S., Foy Quiller-Couch (Written And Signed On Behalf Of Her Life-Long Friend, The Daughter Of Writer Arthur Quiller-Couch), Four Pages, 8Vo, The Haven, Fowey (Although 'At Jamaica Inn, Bolventor'), N.D. ('Friday 25', C.1931/32), To Mr. [Reverend] Densham. Du Maurier Writes, In Full, 'You May Remember Coming To Tea With Us Some While Ago At Fowey. I Passed Through Warleggan This Afternoon On My Way To The Moors, With A View To Calling Upon You, And Admiring Your Garden, Which I Have Long Understood To Be One Of The Beauty Spots Of Cornwall. Unfortunately I Was Quite Unable To Penetrate Through A Barricade Of Barbed Wire That Appeared To Surround The Rectory, And To Add To My Dismay A Number Of Fierce Dogs Broke Through The Bushes And Showed Every Sign Of Attacking Me Should I Venture Closer. I Need Hardly Add That I Was Extremely Disappointed With The Futility Of My Visit, And Can Only Hope That Another Time Luck Will Be With Me, And If I Give You Warning Perhaps The Dogs Could Be Controlled And The Gates Unbarred. The Church Was Fortunately Open, And I Found It Very Charming, And Much Admired The Blue Colouring Inside Which Seemed To Me Unusual For Cornwall, And More Reminiscent Of Brittany. Forgive This Long Letter, But I Felt I Must Let You Know Of My Visit To Warleggan.' Accompanied By The Original Envelope Hand Addressed By Du Maurier To Reverend Densham. An Intriguing Letter Of Fine Content And Exceptional Association. Vg Reverend Frederick William Densham (1870-1953) Is Certainly Regarded As One Of The More Colourful And Eccentric Characters In Cornwall'S History. Densham Was The Incumbent Of St. Bartholomew'S At Warleggan, On The Edge Of Bodmin Moor, From 1931-53. Upon His Arrival In The Parish He Immediately Alienated His Congregation And The Local Residents As A Result Of Several Mis-Calculated Actions, Including Preaching Vegetarianism To The Farming Community! His Dogs Were Also Regarded As A Nuisance By The Local Farmers, Slaughtering Sheep On Bodmin Moor, Which Resulted In The Erection Of The Six Hundred Yards Of Barbed Wire, Some Eight Feet Tall, Which Surrounded The Rectory, And To Which Du Maurier Refers To In The Present Letter. Densham, Again As Du Maurier Makes Reference To In The Present Letter, Also Painted The Church Red, Blue And Yellow, Without First Consulting The Church Council. All Of These Actions, And Others, Led To The Parishioners Petitioning The Bishop Of Truro To Remove Densham, Although The Bishop Advised That No Law Had Been Broken, And The Reverend Remained At Warleggan Until His Death. As A Result, The Congregation Almost Immediately Disappeared And, For The Following Twenty Years, Densham Preached To An Empty Church Each Sunday. The Reverend Marked Places In The Pews With The Names Of Previous Parish Rectors, Although Du Maurier'S Own Proclamation That He Also Placed Cardboard Figures In The Pews Would Appear To Be Something Of A Myth. What Is Certainly A More Wide Held Opinion Is That Du Maurier Based The Character Of The Mad Vicar, Reverend Frances Davey, In Her Novel Jamaica Inn (1936) On Reverend Frederick Densham. Densham'S Own Story Is Recounted In The Film A Congregation Of Ghosts (2009) Starring Edward Woodward. Foy Quiller-Couch - Daughter Of British Writer Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863-1944), And A Life-Long Friend Of Du Maurier. Indeed, Du Maurier Was Accompanied By Foy Quiller-Couch When She Became Inspired With The Storyline For Her Novel Jamaica Inn, From Where The Present Letter Was Written. Some Years Previously The Two Ladies Were Staying At Jamaica Inn And Went Riding On Bodmin Moor. They Became Lost In Bad Weather Conditions And Apparently Sheltered For Some Time In A Derelict Cottage On The Moor But Were Eventually Led Back To Jamaica Inn By Their Horses. The Present Letter Was Discovered Amongst The Papers Of Foy Quiller-Couch And Evidently Never Delivered To Reverend Densham. The Reason For This, And For Du Maurier Signing The Letter With The Name Of Her Friend, Are Not Clear And Present Some Interesting Theories. In Her Book, Vanishing Cornwall (1967), Du Maurier States That It Was Quiller-Couch Who First Told Her About Reverend Densham And, Having Captured Her Imagination And Intrigue, They Made Another Visit To Jamaica Inn And From There To Warleggan To See The Church And The Vicarage Where Silence And Desolation Engulfed Them, As The Present Letter Testifies.] International Autograph Auctions' Autograph Auction September 2015 Saturday, 26th September 2015 Estimate: £300-400
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