Lot 215
  • 215

Asquith, H.H., Shaw, G.B., and others.

2,000 - 2,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Collection of letters to Sir Edgar Speyer:
  • ink on paper
H.H. Asquith, two autograph letters signed, expressing his sympathy for Speyer when he was being publicly vilified for his supposed pro-German sympathies ("...I am not a little ashamed of the readiness of some of my fellow countrymen to suspect & believe evil...") and rejecting his offer to resign his baronetcy, 3 pages, 8vo, 10 Downing St., 8 October 1914 to 22 May 1915; Edward Elgar, autograph letter signed, expressing his sympathy for Speyer's treatment in the press, 3 pages, 4to, Hampstead, 22 October 1914; George Bernard Shaw, two autograph letters signed, expressing sympathy for Speyer's position after the Lusitania disaster ("...the conduct of so many of us exposes all the rest to suspicion of having gone stark mad with indignant war fever..."), 3 pages, folio and 8vo, 30 May 1915-15 November 1921; David Lloyd George, typed letter signed, 1 page, 9 April 1908; together with typescripts, later letters, cuttings, and ephemera, concerning Speyer, his wife, and his homes in Norfolk and Mayfair, many items annotated in pencil by Lady Speyer, altogether c.28 items

Catalogue Note

Sir Edgar Speyer (1862-1932) was born into a major German-Jewish banking dynasty, and moved to England in the 1880s. He played a crucial role in the development of London's tube network as well as becoming a major patron of the arts (for example, he funded London's annual Promenade Concerts from 1902), and he was created a baronet in 1906. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he became a victim of anti-German hysteria fuelled by the press - he was even accused of signalling to U-Boats from his Norfolk home - and in 1915 he emigrated to the United States.