A Touch of the Elfin and Unearthly
From Memories and Notes of Persons and Places, 1852–1912 (1921) 99–109, 121–3. Sir Sidney Colvin (1845–1927) became Slade Professor of Fine Arts at Cambridge (1873–85), Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum (1876– 84), and Keeper of Prints at the British Museum (1884–1912), adding considerably to the collection, particularly of Far Eastern art. He was knighted in 1911. His literary interests centred on Landor and Keats, and he produced John Keats, His Life and Poetry (1917). Colvin first met Stevenson in the summer of 1873 at the home of his cousin, Maud Balfour Babington, at Cockfield Rectory, Surrey, and they became life-long friends. In June 1874, supported by Andrew Lang, he nominated Stevenson for membership of the Savile Club. Hereafter they kept up their friendship with letters and meetings whenever Louis was in London at the ‘Monument’, his name for Colvin’s residence in the east wing of the British Museum. Although Colvin’s judgements on the author’s writings were suspect, he had a keen understanding of his character. He edited the Letters, 2 vols (1900) and the Edinburgh edition, 28 vols (1894–8). See also ‘The Death of Mr R. L. Stevenson’, Pall Mall Gazette, 19 Dec 1894. A perceptive appreciation introduces the Letters.
KeywordsBritish Museum Keen Understanding Fixed Belief Literary Interest Main Physical Fact
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