Lot 412: Wallis Barnes



2016-02-24 17:01:24

Lot 412: Wallis Barnes: (1887-1979) English Scientist & Inventor Of The Bouncing Bomb Used In Operation Chastise (The Dambusters Raid), 16Th May 1943. A Good, Lengthy War Date A.L.S., Barnes, Eight Pages, 4To, Scawfell Hotel, Rosthwaite, Nr. Keswick (Although On The Blind Embossed Stationery Of White Hill House, Effingham, Surrey), 20Th & 29Th May 1945, To Leo D'Erlanger ('My Dear Leo'). Wallis Thanks His Correspondent For Their Letter, Which He Was Delighted To Receive, And Continues To Reveal 'It Was Not Until I Had Had Time To Relax That I Realised How Utterly Tired Out I Was, & Have Been For Sometime', Explaining 'For The Past Year I Have Had To Force Myself To Go On; & I Must Have Been As Near A Crash As One Would Care To Go. Fatigue Seems To Have Been Sweeping Over Me Here In Waves….' Wallis Enquires 'Have You Ever Had Morphia - My Sensations For The First Week Were Very Akin To Those - A Feeling Of Such Utter Tiredness That One'S Limbs Seem To Float Away When One Gets In To Bed' And Further Refers To Being In The Lake District ('We Are Beginning To Get Our Second Wind On The Mountains….The Sheer Physical Joy Of Feeling The Tireless Thrust, Thrust, Thrust, Thrust Of One'S Great Thigh Muscles As One Walks Up Mountain Paths….My Blood Pressure Is Low & My Pulse Slow & Regular, So What Can Man Want More'), Continuing To Ask His Correspondent 'Have You Felt Or Do You Ever Feel, An Intolerable Desire To Produce Some Work Of Great Beauty. Do You Ever Ache In Your Mind To Give Some Expression To The Feeling Of Beauty That Is Within You - A Longing That Must Remain Unsatisfied Alas, Because Of Lack Of Any Technical Skill. I Do, & Have Got It Very Badly At The Present Time. No Doubt, Partly The Result Of Released Emotion, & Of The Marvellous Time In Which We Are Living. But Partly Also The Feeling Of Great Technical Skill Which Can Only Be Utilised On Things Mechanical' And Explaining 'So I Have Started To Design A Cathedral. Don'T Laugh At Me, My Dear Leo….It Is A Mental Safety Valve. I Am No Painter, Musician Or Author, But Express Beauty Somehow One Must, & A Cathedral Is The Logical Outcome Of Many Complex Psychological Experiences. I Am Also Certain That It Can Never Be Built, So That It Is A Very Harmless Vanity. But Not Perhaps Quite So Unreasonable As It Seems. I Am Entranced By The Beauty Of The Gothic Style, And Curiously Enough, It Is A Style That Is Enormously Resistant To Damage From Bombs. In Some Of My Pre-Tallboy Experiments I Discovered The Reason For This', Also Discussing The Beauty And Construction Of Pillars And Arches In The Gothic Style, As Well As The Mathematics And Mechanics Of The Masonry, 'It Is Now Possible To Make Stone Far More Consistent In Quality, & Of A Much Higher Strength & Almost Unlimited Durability, Than Was Available (As Made By Nature) From Quarries In Their Time. Therefore The Arch As Used By The Gothic Builder Has Never Reached The Zenith Of Its Development. And A Delicacy & Exquisite Beauty Hitherto Undreamed Of, Ought To Be Attainable Now, That Would Only Have Resulted In Disaster Had It Been Attempted Before' And Also Commenting 'One'S Design Must Be Influenced By Certain Modern Factors. Notably Our Power Vastly To Extend The Area Of Clear Audition, To Such An Extent That The Boundary Of An Actively Participating Congregation Is Set Only By The Limits Of Vision'. Wallis Takes Up His Letter Again On The 29Th May, Again Referring To His Recent Walking Activities And Asking 'Why Is It That Flying Offers No Comparable Visions Of Beauty To Those That One Gets From Even A Modest Mountain Top? Is The Difference Psychological, Physical, Or Is The Perception Of Beauty A Function Of Time Elapsed, Must Man Gaze For Some Considerable Period In Order To Appreciate?' Wallis Also Mentions A Possible Date For A Re-Union Luncheon With His Correspondent, Combined With Wallis Being Formally Received Into The Royal Society And Concludes To Report That On The 26Th June His Wife, Molly, Will Be 'Launching A Submarine At The Shipyard At Barrow In Furness….The Naval Construction People Will I Hope Make My New Stratosphere Chamber For Me, For Our Stratosphere Research'. Autograph Letters Of Wallis Are Rare, And Particularly So From This Date And With Interesting Content, Making The Present Example Very Desirable. Vg Sir Gerard John Regis Leo D'Erlanger (1906-1962) Airline Company Director & Financier. Chairman Of Boac 1956-60. International Autograph Auctions' Autograph Auction featuring The David Smith Collection & The Collection of a Gentleman March 2016 Saturday, 5th March 2016 Estimate: £200 - 300
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