University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Evelyn Waugh:

An Inventory of His Collection in the Art Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Waugh, Evelyn, 1903-1966
Title: Evelyn Waugh Art Collection
Dates: 1822-1953, undated (bulk 1911-1953)
Abstract: The Waugh Art Collection consists of artwork by and related to Waugh from his own archives.
Extent: 4 boxes, 2 flat file folders, 4 paintings (3 framed), 1 sculpture (293 items)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Biographical Sketch

Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh, born October 28, 1903, was the second son of Arthur, a managing director of Chapman & Hall, Publishers, and Catherine Raban Waugh. Reading and writing played a significant role in the home-life of young Evelyn, whose older brother Alec also became a well-known writer. Waugh began writing and illustrating short stories at the age of four, and at the age of nine he and a group of friends produced a creative magazine for their Pistol Troop club.

In addition to his youthful interest in writing, Waugh developed a strong interest in religion. When his brother's escapades made it impossible for Waugh to follow the family tradition of attending Sherbourne prep school, his father found a place for him at Lancing, a school with a strong religious tradition. During his tenure at Lancing, Waugh studied under Francis Crease, who helped him refine his technique of medieval-style illumination. He performed well in his studies, developed into something of a social bully, decided that he was an atheist, and earned a scholarship to Hertford College, Oxford.

When Waugh entered Oxford in 1922 he found his new freedom to be intoxicating. He soon found himself part of a crowd similar to the one he later described in Brideshead Revisited (1945), which included Harold Acton. While at Oxford, he adopted the pseudonym of Scaramel, and became well known for his caricatures and designs for magazines including the Broom, the Isis, and the Cherwell. He did very little studying and left after two years with many experiences and debts, but no degree. He considered a career in art, and enrolled at the Heatherley School of Art in September 1924 but left at the end of the year and took a series of low-paying teaching positions. In 1927 he began to write steadily and launched himself into a successful career.

The critical success of his first book, a biography, Rossetti: His Life and Works (1928), and the popular success of Decline and Fall (1928) brought Waugh to the attention of the reading public. The financial success of Decline and Fall made it possible for Waugh to marry Evelyn Gardner, called She-Evelyn by their friends. The marriage was short lived, but served as a backdrop for several of Waugh's later works, including Vile Bodies (1930) and Labels: A Mediterranean Journal (1930). Also in 1930, Waugh converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism.

For the next several years Waugh spent his time writing short stories, travel books, a biography of Edmund Campion, and several more novels including Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934), and Scoop (1938). He obtained an annulment of his first marriage and in 1937 married Laura Herbert, with whom he had seven children.

1939 brought the start of World War II and Waugh took the earliest opportunity to join in the defense of England. As part of the Home Guard in 1940 he participated in the fiasco of the Battle of Crete which was the basis for Put Out More Flags (1942). Waugh was not a good leader, despite fearless action in the face of battle, and in 1943 he resigned from his Commando unit. In 1944 he was sent to Yugoslavia as part of a mission to shore up Tito's partisan efforts in the German held territory. During this mission he completed his best known and most controversial work, Brideshead Revisited (1945).

Discharged from the military in 1945, Waugh continued to write and travel. He went to Hollywood in 1947 to work on a screenplay for Brideshead, which fell through when he refused to give up the final say on the script. While he was in California he found a rich source of material: Forest Lawn Memorial Park. This lavish funeral home inspired Waugh to write The Loved One (1948), one of his funniest and most popular books.

Waugh continued to write, though he became increasingly reclusive. Growing health problems related to a lifetime of heavy drinking, smoking, and the use of sedatives to induce sleep, limited public appearances. On a cruise in 1956 he suffered a bout of paranoid hallucinations which formed the centerpiece of his most autobiographical novel, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (1957). Waugh lived until 1966, ending his writing career with the publication of The Sword of Honor trilogy (1965).

Although Waugh had more success as a writer, he continued his art work, providing the illustrations for his novels Decline and Fall, Black Mischief, and Love Among the Ruins, as well as creating dust jacket designs for many of his own works and for works by other authors.

Scope and Contents

The Waugh Art Collection consists of artwork by and related to Waugh from his own archives. The collection is organized into two Series: I. Works by Evelyn Waugh, and II. Works by Other Artists. Titles are transcribed from the items; cataloger’s titles appear in brackets.

Series I., Works by Evelyn Waugh, is arranged chronologically. There are 127 works in this group, 121 of which are original. These include bookplates, Christmas cards, illustrations for his novels Decline and Fall and Love Among the Ruins, sketchbooks with studies from the Heatherley School of Art, drawings from childhood, prayers and religious text in the style of illuminated manuscripts, and cover designs for The Oxford Broom. The individual drawings in the two sketchbooks are described in Alain Blayac's "Evelyn Waugh's Drawings" in The Library Chronicle (1974).

Series II., Works by Other Artists, is listed alphabetically by creator. These are works from Waugh's personal collection and include a trompe l'oeil by Martin Battersby depicting various memorabilia from Waugh's career, two paintings by Rebecca Solomon, a copy of Allan Ramsay's portrait of George III, sketchbooks and albums, as well as a few drawings by unidentified artists.



Open for research. A minimum of twenty-four hours is required to pull art materials to the Reading Room.

Related Material

Portraits of Waugh are included in several other collections in the Art Collection: Zdzislaw Czermanski (70.67.14), Portrait Busts Collection (Paravacini's 1945 sculpture from Waugh's collection; 83.82), Colin Spencer (73.157.6), and Feliks Topolski (62.255).

A wealth of Waugh materials is held in other areas of the Ransom Center. The Art Collection has in its Cruikshank Collection Waugh's printing block and corresponding wood engraving of George Cruikshank's Mr. Parsons Unshelled (an illustration for Charles Dickens' Sketches by Boz, 1850). Among the Manuscripts Collection's Waugh materials are additional drawings by Waugh; also of note is an unusual large handmade volume by John Bingley Garland (1791-1875) that contains collages of hand-colored religious and botanical images surrounded by calligraphic biblical quotations and narratives. There are also Waugh holdings in the Film Collection, the Library, Photography Collection, Personal Effects Collection, Scrapbook Collection, Sound Recordings Collection, and the Vertical File Collection.

For additional information, see "Evelyn Waugh's Drawings" by Alain Blayac in The Library Chronicle, N.S. no.7 (1974): 42-57, and A Catalogue of the Evelyn Waugh Collection at the Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin by Robert Murray Davis (New York: Whitson, 1981).

Administrative Information


Purchase (R3624), 1967

Processed by:

Helen Young, 2003


Dictionary of Literary Biography -- Volume 15: British Novelists, 1930-1959, part 2, M-Z. Bernard Oldsey, ed. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1983.

Hastings, Selina. Evelyn Waugh: A Biography. Great Britain: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994.

Item List

Series I., Works by Evelyn Waugh, 1911-1953, undated

1.1 [Battle scene with airplanes, cannons, and figures on ground]. 1911-1912.
1 drawing (ink and pastel, col.), 14.4 x 21.9 cm.
1.1 [Standing figure holding out ax, standing policeman with dog]. 1913.
1 painting (watercolor, col.), 14 x 22.1 cm.
1.2 Distinguished Author Shows Contempt for the Public [man holding up sword, walking over and through four men]. Circa 1919.
1 drawing (ink), 16.4 x 12.2 cm.
1.3 Invisible Tides, Beatrice Kean Seymour [dust jacket design with sea and clouds]. 1919.
1 drawing (ink and pencil), 19.9 x 14.5 cm.
1.4 [Man in clerical dress and taller man in monk's dress standing facing each other, man wearing knight's helmet behind]. 1920s.
1 drawing (ink and pencil), 29 x 22.6 cm.
1.5 [Room interior with balcony, stairs, and checkered floor in Medieval style; Doge's Palace?]. 1920s.
1 painting (watercolor), 19.5 x 14.4 cm.
1.6 [Three-quarter length man in front of rubbings of coins]. 1920s.
1 drawing (pencil and ink), 36.8 x 24.2 cm.
Flat file [Three-quarter length man and woman in Edwardian costume]. 1920s.
1 drawing (pencil and gouache), 61.5 x 47.5 cm.
1.7 O Lord, support us, all the daylong of this troubelous life … [prayer text in Old English script, with decorative initial and border]. Probably 1920.
1 drawing (ink and watercolor, col.), 15 x 12.6 cm.
1.7 O Lord, support us, all the daylong of this troubelous life … [reproduction of]. Probably 1920.
1 reproductive print (photostat), 15 x 11.4 cm.
1.8 [Ship draped with armorial banners, above armorial device and standing man wearing crown and holding sceptre]. Circa 1920.
1 painting (watercolor), 18.6 x 12.2 cm.
1.9 [Three-masted ship, above standing man in medieval dress and five medieval knights' helmets]. Circa 1920.
1 drawing (watercolor and ink), 18.7 x 11.2 cm.
1.10 Our Father … [the Lord's Prayer]; Assumption and Coronation of Our Blessed Lady; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts … [prayer]; Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image … [four pages on one sheet in style of medieval manuscript illumination]. Circa 1920.
1 painting (watercolor and ink), 13.9 x 22.4 cm.
1.11 The Holy Mass; St Agustine [sic] and his followers land in Britain …; Lord have mercy upon us … [three pages on one sheet in style of medieval manuscript illumination]. Circa 1920.
1 painting (watercolor and ink), 14.1 x 22.3 cm.
1.12 Beware and look to wards the end of things that be … [Old English script]. 1920.
1 drawing (ink), 19.4 x 14.9 cm.
1.13 Headpiece Act iii Scene ii [canopied bed with woman seated on it, man kneeling on it, and woman standing behind it, all three in Renaissance costume]. Probably 1923.
1 drawing (ink), 5.7 x 7.7 cm.
1.14 Fires of Youth [young man standing in front of flames, with one foot in cradle and other foot in grave; illustration for London Mercury, October 1923]. 1923.
2 prints (wood engraving), image 12.7 x 9 cm.
1.15 Broom [cover design for Oxford Broom, incorporating unicorns, witches, castle, and brooms]. 1923.
1 drawing (ink and watercolor, col.), 24.9 x 19.4 cm.
1.16 The Oxford Broom [cover design for Oxford Broom, incorporating unicorns, witches, and brooms]. 1923.
1 drawing (ink), 29.3 x 22.2 cm.
1.17 Suggestion for Alley Workshops Toy. Mr. Pares, Editor of The New Oxford. Drawn by Scaramel. [profile of man holding closed umbrella; illustration for Isis, 24 January 1923]. 1923.
1 collage (ink on paper with cutout sheet pasted on top, col.), 13.7 x 10.1 cm.
1.17 Suggestion for Alley Workshops Toy. Mr. Pares, Editor of The New Oxford. Drawn by Scaramel. [profile of man holding closed umbrella]. 1923.
1 reproductive print, 16.8 x 14 cm.
1.18 [Profile of a crouching satyr; inscribed: "'Atque sciebat quae sibi Barbara[sic] tortor pararet' [from Horace's Odes] Evelyn Waugh August 1923"]. 1923.
1 print (woodcut), image 7.4 x 5.3 cm., on sheet 19.6 x 13.3 cm.
1.19 [Design for a fan, on envelope addressed to G. R. Harrison Esq, Exeter, postmarked 1923]. 1923.
1 drawing (pencil), 14.1 x 21.6 cm.
1.20 The Tragical Death of Mr. Will. Huskisson. MDCCCXXX [depiction of historical event involving the early locomotive, the Rocket; large group of various figures in and around first train]. 1924.
1 reproductive print, 19.2 x 26.7 cm.
2.1 [Sketchbook of various studies of figures and anatomical details]. Probably 1924.
39 drawings (pencil and conté crayon), 35.5 x 23.7 cm.
2.2-2.39 [Various drawings detached from sketchbook, including anatomic studies of male and female nudes, three-storied house, dog "Androcles," cat, women embroidering]. Probably 1924.
38 drawings (pencil), 35.5 x 23.7 cm.
1.21 [Mr. Toad wearing goggles and driving gloves, accompanied by a butler, standing in doorway behind column, beneath armorial crest with frog, lettered "Poop Poop"]. Probably 1924.
1 drawing (pencil), 35.4 x 23.8 cm.
1.22 [Anatomical study of man's back, outstretched arm, foot]. Probably 1924.
1 drawing (pencil), 35.6 x 24 cm.
1.23 [Nude man and satyr carrying man's body with chalice in hand]. 1925.
1 print (wood engraving), image 5.8 x 8.9 cm., on sheet 10 x 14 cm.
1.24 With Love from Evelyn, Christmas 1927 [design with doves, holly leaves, c-clamp, and saw]. 1927.
1 reproductive print, 20.3 x 30 cm., folded to 20.3 x 15.1 cm.
1.24 With Best Wishes From Evelyn Waugh, Christmas 1927 [design with doves, holly leaves, c-clamp, and saw]. 1927.
1 reproductive print, 20.2 x 30 cm., folded to 20.2 x 15.4 cm.
1.25 Plate III Professor Otto Silenus [man with charts and books under arm, standing among ruins in front of ditchdigging machine; illustration for Decline and Fall, p. 155]. 1928.
1 drawing (ink), 38.3 x 27.9 cm.
1.26 Plate V. Grimes was of the Immortals [man holding staff with banner "Excelsior" riding horse through clouds above figures with pick axes; illustration for Decline and Fall, p. 263]. 1928.
1 drawing (ink and white), 38.6 x 28 cm.
1.27 At the Sign of the Unicorn. Mr. Harold Acton (Editor of The Oxford Broom), The Last of the Poets. Drawn by Scaramel. [standing male figure holding megaphone, in front of unicorn flag; inscribed: "Doubtful caricature by the author 1928"]. 1928.
1 drawing (ink), 15.1 x 8.9 cm., on sheet 20.3 x 14.5 cm.
1.28 E Bibliotheca Oliviae Plunket Greene [profile of nude female holding up platter with man's head, in front of Victrola]. 1952.
1 print (wood engraving), 9.6 x 6.5 cm., on sheet 20.3 x 14.8 cm.
Illustrations for Love Among the Ruins.
1.29 [Three men in Greek dress surrounding woman lying on table; one holding up a beard and mustache]. Probably 1953.
1 collage (ink, white, and paper), 17.7 x 20.7 cm.
1.30 Experimental Surgery [three men in Greek dress surrounding woman lying on table; one holding up a beard and mustache; variant design of that used]. Probably 1953.
1 collage (cutout fragments of line drawing reproduction, on board), 17.6 x 18.6 cm.
1.31 [Three men in Greek dress surrounding woman lying on table; one holding up a beard and mustache; drawing on enlarged reproduction of]. Probably 1953.
1 drawing (pencil) on reproductive print, 19.3 x 31.8 cm.
1.32 Coalition [two busts on pedestals of two bald men; pedestal bases labeled "[R]est & Cultu[re]" and "Welfare"]. Probably 1953.
1 drawing (ink on paper with 2nd sheet cutout and pasted on top), 25.3 x 17.6 cm.
1.33 [Group of 13 weeping figures -- men, women, children -- in classical costume, in front of door with lettering "Closed During Strike"]. Probably 1953.
1 collage (ink with glued paper), irregular 17.4 x 26.8 cm.
1.34 [Profile of angel next to star, within cabinet border, above semicircular design with various figures]. Probably 1953.
1 collage (ink, white, and glued paper), 25.4 x 18.2 cm.
1.35 [Partially nude male and female figures embracing beneath classical arch with columns]. Probably 1953.
1 collage (ink, pencil, white, and glued paper), 31.8 x 26.3 cm.
1.36 [Partially nude male and female figures embracing beneath classical arch with columns; enlargement of]. Probably 1953.
1 reproductive print (with revisions in white), 37.9 x 29.1 cm.
1.37 Ex Libris Cecil Roberts [standing male within design with wheels and jagged lines]. Undated.
1 drawing (ink), 36.8 x 24.2 cm.
1.38 Mr. John Greenidge's Book [bookplate profile of standing woman holding flowers]. Undated.
1 print (wood engraving), 7.4 x 6.5 cm.
1.39 [Monogram: HW(?)]. Undated.
1 painting (gouache on parchment), diam. 7 cm.
1.40 Cockburn of Cockpen [armorial device with three roosters]. Undated.
1 drawing (ink), 15.1 x 8.2 cm.
1.41 [Crouching satyr holding flute, next to broken column]. Undated.
1 drawing (ink with cut out), 15 x 13.3 cm.
1.42 [Pan on top of broken pedestal, lettered "AG"]. Undated.
1 print (woodcut, col.)image 6.8 x 6.1 cm., on sheet 10.3 x 7.3 cm.
1.43 [Standing man holding umbrella and newspaper, surrounded by house, two clocks, telephone, watering can, pipe, shaving equipment]. Undated.
1 print (wood engraving), image 5.2 x 5.2 cm., on sheet 20.2 x 12.2 cm.
1.44 [Rose and daisy with leaves and bee; verso: butterfly; attributed to Waugh]. Undated.
1 drawing (pencil and ink), 17.9 x 11.3 cm.

Series II., Works by Other Artists, 1822-1952, undated

Sculpture storage Amadori, Enrico. [Romeo and Juliet; broken]. 1861.
1 sculpture (marble)
Painting storage Battersby, Martin. [Montage of Waugh memorabilia]. 1952.
1 painting (oil on aluminum), 66.5 x 152.5 cm.
3.1 Greenhow, Maria, Lucie Martineau, C.M., C.B., R.J. Lane, F. Stone, I. Newman. [Album of various works, including landscapes of Crosthwaite Church in Keswick, Windsor Castle, London from Greenwich Hill, Gründtl Lake, Richmond Hill, country houses, churches, abbey ruins, rivers, mountains, and deer under trees; seascapes; portraits, allegorical drawings, and groups of people, including a print of a drawing of a girl by Queen Victoria; and studies of butterflies and moths; book label of Maria Greenhow; bookplate of Evelyn Waugh]. 1822-1858.
31 items: 8 drawings (4 pencil, 4 ink wash), 9 paintings (watercolor), 13 prints (10 engravings, 2 col.; 3 lithographs); 1 printed envelope, 27.5 x 21.9 cm.
3.2 Parry, Penelope and Ellen. [Sketchbook of drawings of landscapes; Caernarvon Castle; Conway Castle; houses in Ambleside, Brecknockshire, Isle of Wight, and Yarmouth Sands; children, plant studies, and Dutch windmill]. 1832-1833.
16 drawings (15 pencil, 1 ink wash), 25.8 x 37.2 cm.
Painting storage Ramsay Allan, after. Portrait of George III, seated [copy of Buckingham Palace portrait]. Undated.
1 painting (oil), 239.2 x 147 cm.
Painting storage Solomon, Rebecca. The Dissolute Undergraduate. 1868.
1 painting (oil), 59.7 x 43.2 cm.
Painting storage Solomon, Rebecca. The Virtuous Undergraduate. 1868.
1 painting (oil), 59.7 x 43.2 cm.
4 Wood, John. [Album of various designs, including religious, classical, and Shakespearean subjects, allegorical images, self-portraits; interleaved with handwritten letters, index, and biography of Wood by his brother, George Wood]. Probably 1824-1870.
110 drawings (14 pencil, 19 ink, 77 watercolor), 1 print (lithograph), 53.5 x 39 cm.
1.44 Unidentified. [Standing woman with clasped hands in front; child's drawing?]. Undated.
1 drawing (ballpoint pen), 13.1 x 7.9 cm.
1.46 Unidentified. [Two standing classical Greek female figures, one partially nude with two faces (male and female), one in chiton; inscribed: Affection et voeur(?), Gertu(?) Pelewski]. Undated.
1 drawing (ink), 20.3 x 15.4 cm. on sheet 24.7 x 20.6 cm.
Flat file Unidentified. Altar Tomb of Lord Brooke. North Side Restored. S. Mary Callington. 1860.
1 drawing (ink), 38.3 x 50.5 cm.