Fifteen Typed Letters Signed from 'Britain's richest man' Sir John Ellerman to Cyril Rollins, regarding Gilbert and Sullivan and the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. With two Autograph Letters Signed from Lady Ellerman, 13 Christmas cards and other items.

Sir John Reeves Ellerman, 2nd Baronet (1910-1973), business tycoon said to be 'Britain's richest man; his wife Lady Esther Leopolda Ellerman (d.1985) [née De Sola, later Borwick] [Cyril Rollins]
Publication details: 
Ellerman's letters from Cape Town, South Africa, and the Dorchester Hotel, London between 1960 and 1971; his wife's letters from 1960 and 1973. The thirteen Christmas cards all undated.
SKU: 13341

35 items, in very good condition, on lightly-aged paper. Ellerman's fifteen letters, all signed 'John Ellerman.', total: 10pp., 4to; 1p., 8vo; 7pp., 12mo. Rollins was co-author with R. John Witts of 'The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas' (1962), and Ellerman's good-natured correspondence is entirely devoted to the same subject, with references to singers, current productions, historical information and Rollins's 'great book'. Two examples will indicate the tone. On 5 January 1968 he writes: 'I am indeed glad to get a little news of the G. & S. front; Mr. Witts usually sends me the years compilation (the next page to be added to the great work!), but I didn't receive it this year, and wondered if you are both keeping it up or not. Perhaps I might sometime have a sheet if one exists. I heard from Mr. Godfrey that Ann Hood and David Palmer were leaving (after Oxford in June or July), but otherwise have had no news. I am sorry the supplement has not sold too well, which rather surprises me. I am rather sick of new productions of the Gondoliers - it seems we've had one a year for the last ten years, or is this an exaggeration? I'd like to get back to the one of the days of my youth which Mr. Carte gave us, the one redressed in 1929. But tradition seems now a thing of the past. Your Gilbert & Sullivan for all concert at the Albert Hall must have been a very worthwhile experience'. On 17 December 1968 he writes: 'Somebody lent me a copy of the Gilbert & Sullivan journal, in which I read rather grim things about the new Gondoliers production, including the shattering fact that apparently the Duke eats spaghetti while the Don is trying to sing No Possible Doubt Whatever - honestly, amateurs on the pier at Felixstowe would be ashamed of it!' Also present are two Autograph Letters Signed (both 'Esther Ellerman') from Lady Ellerman. Both 1p., 12mo. In the first, from 1960, she thanks Rollins for the 'beautiful chrysanthemums' sent by his and Witts, and in the second, from 1973, she thanks Rollins and his wife for their condolences on her husband's death, writing: 'I know that my John very much enjoyed helping to prepare the splendid D'Oyly Carte Opera book by you & Mr. Witts & he had great admiration for you both.' Also present are: an undated Autograph Card Signed from Lady Ellerman, again acknowleding condolences; a Typed Letter Signed (1p., 12mo) from Lady Ellerman's secretary Jennifer Joubert, 7 September 1965; an autograph copy of Rollins's letter of condolence, 21 July 1973 (2pp., 12mo), in which he writes: 'It is now about fourteen years since Roy Witts & I received the offer to publish our work on the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, for which we have been most grateful. | I know that it gave Sir John great pleasure in preparing the book for publication, checking the proofs with us, & helping to select the photographs. | After the book was published, he continued to take a kind interest in our subsequent efforts.'; a printed compliments slip from Lady Ellerman and a printed card announcing her change of address; and 13 unsigned Christmas cards, each with printed message from 'John and Esther Ellerman'.