[John Drinkwater and Samuel Pepys.] Two Typed Letters Signed (both 'John Drinkwater') to Edwin Chappell, responding with asperity to his criticism of Pepys House in Brampton. With Autograph Draft Copy of a reply by Chappell.

John Drinkwater (1882-1937), poet and dramatist [Edwin Chappell (1883-1938), Pepys scholar and maritime historian; Samuel Pepys]
Publication details: 
Letter One: Pepys House, Brampton, Huntingdon; 31 May 1933. Letter Two: on letterhead of 9 The Grove, Highgate Village, London; 17 June 1933. Chappell's draft reply: on letterhead of 41 Westcombe Park Rd, Blackheath [London]; 21 June 1933.
SKU: 21883

Pepys's house at Brampton is the subject of an article by Chris Partridge in the Observer, 30 May 2004, which states that 'The first earl, Edward Montagu, was Pepys's cousin and patron, giving him the political clout to further his career in the Navy Office. In 1927 the then earl gave the Pepys House Trust a 100-year lease at a peppercorn rent, and it has been open to the public ever since. All three items in good condition, lightly aged. Drinkwater's second letter and Chappell's draft reply pinned to one another. ONE: Drinkwater to Chappell, 31 May 1933. TLS. 2pp, 4to. He presumes that Chappell's 'interesting paper on Samuel Pepys' has been forwarded to him on Chappell's instructions. 'There are some questions upon which, as might be seen in my book, I do not agree with you. And on the matter of the present condition or appearance of this house I feel that your observations are most unfortunate.' He explains that the house is the property of the Earl of Sandwich, 'who takes a deep and enlightened care of his historical possessions'. As President of the Pepys Club, Sandwich has 'always shown a special interest in this house'. In 1890, despite Chappell's description of the house as an 'old world country cottage', it had in fact been 'patched and plastered out of all resemblance to the original building, and it had, moreover, fallen into a serious state of neglect and disrepair when Lord Sandwich inherited it'. With the aid of 'Mr Forsyth, one of the most distinguished architects in this country', Sandwich 'carried out an altogether admirable piece of restoration, so that now the house in its main features is the one that Pepys himself knew'. As the tenant, Drinkwater has 'taken great care to make it inhabitable in a way that Pepys or any other civilised person would like'. He is irked by Chappell's reference to an 'electric light', this being 'enclosed in a rather charming old ship's lantern, not, I think, inappropriately'. He ends with some asperity: 'To liken a building that both inside and out is generally recognised as a beautiful example of the smaller domestic architecture of its period to a modern suburban villa suggests either that you have not seen it or that you are not very fully qualified to express an opinion on these matters. This in itself would be of small consequence, but your remarks were made in a public lecture delivered in honour of Pepys, and they cannot but be distasteful, to say the least, to Lord Sandwich, to the Pepys Club, and to myself.' TWO: Drinkwater to Chappell, 17 June 1933. TLS. 1p, landscape 12mo. He is somewhat mollified by Chappell's response, and invites him to 'come to see Pepys House', when he will no doubt be 'favourably impressed by the interior'. He thanks him for suggesting that he might send him his book, which he would be 'very interested' to read. THREE: Chappell to Drinkwater, 21 June 1933. Autograph Draft Copy. 1p, 4to. With several emendations. He notes Drinkwater's disagreement, 'but “Restorations” always give rise to varied opinions. Could I give a better example than that of Waterloo Bridge?' Although his book is 'primarily of interest to the naval historian, Pepys, the man, can be seen in it behind Pepys the official by those who have the right kind of eyes as I am sure you have'.