The Archive of Mervyn Peake (1911-68)

Item date: 1940s to 1968
Grant Value: £15,000 (£5,000 from the Philip Larkin Fund)
Item cost: £400,000
Item date acquired: 2010
Item institution: British Library
Town/City: London

Mervyn Peake was one of those rare individuals who achieved eminence as both artist and writer. He is best known for his Gormenghast trilogy, for which he won the Heinemann Prize for Literature in 1951, but he also worked as a war artist, and illustrated such classics as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, The Ancient Mariner and Treasure Island. The archive comprises 39 autograph Gormenghast notebooks as well as the complete set of original drawings for Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland. Dating from 1940 through to his death in 1968, the archive includes most of Peake’s literary output and contains a significant amount of unpublished material, including correspondence with John Berger, Laurie Lee and C.S. Lewis.

Item Provenance
The Estate of Mervyn Peake