[Edward Lowbury, bacteriologist and poet, to playwright Christopher Fry.] Nineteen items including Ten Autograph Letters Signed (all 'Edward') by him, two by his wife, three printed poems, including material relating to his father-in-law Andrew Young

Edward Lowbury [Edward Joseph Lister Lowbury] (1913-2007), physician, bacteriologist, pathologist and poet [Christopher Fry (1907-2005), playwright; Andrew Young (1885-1971), Scottish poet]
Publication details: 
The twelve letters between 29 June 1972 and 20 March 1989; all from 79 Vernon Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham (nine on letterheads). Card: 10 December 1986; Birmingham. Three Phoenix Broadsheets (Toni Savage of Leicester), 1986 (2) and 1992.
SKU: 22740

See the appreciative obituary of Lowbury by Christopher Hawtree, Guardian, 15 October 2007. Nineteen items, five of which are accompanied by envelopes addressed to Fry at his home The Toft, East Dean, Chichester, Sussex. The material is in good condition, lightly aged. ONE: Edward Lowbury's ten ALsS and one ACS, 1972-1989, with one undated Christmas card. A total of 17pp, 12mo. A friendly personal correspondence, discussing matters including: his wife Alison (daughter of the Scottish poet Andrew Young (1885-1971)), friends and family, meetings and arrangements, holidays, presentations of work (he wrote his 1972 children's book 'Green Magic' to order, 'during a fortnight's holiday in Italy when it rained every day!'). On 23 February 1978 he praises a lecture by Fry: 'Alison and I were delighted [...] and found your arguments and examples illuminating and beautifully presented. You quite some of my favourite lines of Vaughan, and I was particularly glad to see The Countess's fine words in The Dark is Light Enough. A lecture to be re-read, and I'll keep it with other books and pamphlets in that category.' In the same letter he reports that he will be travelling to Sweden, Canada and Germany, explaining that he will be 'retiring from my post at the end of this year, so I might as well make use of the opportunities for travel which go with my job! I shall also try to produce a Selected Poems which a publisher ([Celtion?]) has asked me to produce.' On 31 October 1979 he thanks Fry for a letter with 'its vivid pictures of Andrew', i.e. his father-in-law the Scottish poet Andrew Young (1885-1971): 'I could remember most of the occasions in which we were involved, and was glad to be reminded of many of Andrew's habits of speech and behaviour which one tended to forget because they were taken so much for granted (eg., his frequent disappearances and reappearances). I was glad to have your confirmation of his love for everlastings (which I tried to interpret in my poem of that name): a few weeks ago we visited Stonegate and had tea with the lady who sent everlastings to Andrew at Yapton'. In the same letter he discusses Fry's recommendation of Lowbury's 'Complete (or Collected) Poems to OUP'. On 30 June 1986 he thanks Fry for 'the poster poem, a splendid message in verbal and visual language from you and Charles Wadsworth which adds a dimension to our study'. He is also very happy to learn that Fry is writing a play: 'We have pleasant memories of seeing A Yard of Sun at Nottingham (can that really have been 15 years ago?!)'. He discusses his own recent work, including 'Masada - Byzantium - Celle', which 'has such ferocious pictures by John Bratby that I have hesitated to send copies of it to friends!' On 10 December 1986 he writes that he enclosing the handbill poem 'Cures' (Item Four below), which is 'not a medical poem! Incidentally, I have been asked to give a talk on Medical Poets at Birmingham University and also at the R.S.L. in February, so am exploring whatg seems to be almost an occupational hazard of some of my colleagues through the centuries. I keep writing poems myself: after the Birmingham poems of 1984 I am to produce "Variations on Aldeburgh" on 1st April (!), and there is a sequel also to the "Apocryphal Letters" (also 1984), called A Letter from Hampstead, in which I have written about the composer Bernard van Dieren as though I were my own father (van Dieren's doctor) writing to me just after the composer's death'. TWO: Two ALsS to Fry from Lowbury's wife, both signed 'Alison'. 6 November 1979 and 28 May 1984. A total of 4pp, 12mo. In the first (cf. Lowbury's letter, 31 October 1979) she refers to Fry's 'new orange-coloured toy' (a photocopier or printer), and for allowing the Lowburys 'to enjoy the first fruits of it! Andrew's letters, though usually short and to the point, are most individual, and those you sent me are indeed a valuable addition to our collection [...] Your memories of Andrew bring back the atmosphere of those evenings vividly [...] He particularly enjoyed those "parties" when you were able to come. | The "routine" he referred to was very strictly observed, especially after Janet's death. It was necessary for him or he couldn't have kept going. Not that he really wanted to keep going, as he was so much "looking forward."' In the second letter she expresses pleasure at the news that 'John Miller [of the BBC?] is still interested in the programme for Andrew's centenary', and thanks Fry 'for stimulating and reinforcing that interest'. She states that she and her husband 'have been working on Andrew for years', and that they 'would be happy to make available to him information, memories, anecdotes'. She also enquires about the possible involvement of the cricket commentator and poet John Arlott, and refers to Ted Walker and Walter Hussey. She expresses a hope that 'there will not be too much emphasis in the programme on the benign, elderly canon, as Leonard Clark liked to see him: he was a more complicated (and improbable!) character than that'. Items Three to Five are three rare leaflet poems by Lowbury, each folded once. THREE: 'Traveller in Time' ('Longing for a way to put Time in reverse,'): 'Phoenix Broadsheet 281 | Toni Savage of Leicester & Roy Lewis of Richmond'. With unattributed illustration. Inscribed at head: 'from Edward Lowbury | 1986'. Only three copies on OCLC WorldCat. FOUR: 'CURES' ('You looked my way and I could see again'): 'Phoenix Broadsheet 294. Toni Savage of Leicester, 1986.' 1p, 12mo. Illustration at head by Rigby Graham. Inscribed: 'Christopher and Phyl, with love from | Edward | 1986'. Three copies on OCLC WorldCat. FIVE: 'THE STRANGER' ('Voices - familiar, recognizable,'): 'Phoenix Broadsheet 370 | Toni Savage of Leicester, June '92'. 1p, 12mo. Illustration at head by 'Robert Tilling R.I.' Two copies on OCLC WorldCat. SIX: Duplicated Typed Poem: 'Springcleaning at Seventy' ('I'm burning up the past, this load of letters;'). 1p, 8vo. At end: 'Edward Lowbury, 1986'. In envelope with the ACS (to the Frys, dated from 'B'ham 10 . xii . 1986'). SEVEN: Prospectus for 'Goldrush | by Edward Lowbury', by 'The Celandine Press [Warwickshire], November 1983'. 3pp, 12mo. Bifolium on orange paper.