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Murdoch, Iris: Photographs of Iris Murdoch and Others

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2108 KUAS83
Held at: Kingston University
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Full title: Murdoch, Iris: Photographs of Iris Murdoch and Others
Date(s): [1940-1970]
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 4 files
Name of creator(s): Murdoch | Dame | Jean Iris | 1919-1999 | author
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin, Ireland on 15 Jul 1919. When she was very young Iris and her parents moved to London, England, and Iris studied at Frobel and Badminton Schools. She followed this with studies in classics, ancient history and philosophy at Oxford, and further study at Cambridge. During the war years Iris worked for the Treasury in London, and then joined the UNRRA providing relief in formerly occupied countries in Europe. In 1948 she became a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, where she taught and researched philosophy.

Iris Murdoch wrote a number of tracts on philosophy, however it is for her novels that she is best known. She wrote 26 novels in total, her first being Under the Net published in 1954. Other notable works include The Bell and The Sea, the Sea, for which she won the Booker Prize. Her last novel, Jackson's Dilemma, was published in 1995.
In her youth Iris Murdoch had relationships with a number of individuals, including Elias Canetti. She met author and scholar John Bayley while at Oxford, and they married in 1956. She wrote to a great number of people and maintained friendships in this way.
Later in life Iris Murdoch was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, the first effects of which she had attributed to writer's block. She died in 1999.


Scope and content/abstract:

Collection of photographs previously owned by Iris Murdoch. Includes images of Iris Murdoch alone, Iris Murdoch pictured with others and portraits of individuals who Iris Murdoch knew. As well as Murdoch those depicted include John Bayley, Frank Thompson and Elias Cannetti.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Original order. The photographs have been sub-divided into files of Murdoch pictured alone, Murdoch pictured with others and images of other individuals Murdoch knew.

Conditions governing access:

Photographs are able to be viewed by appointment in the Kingston University Archives and Special Collections reading room.

Conditions governing reproduction:

No copying of the photographs is permitted due to copyright permissions and the fragile nature of some of the images.

Finding aids:

Full catalogue entries will eventually be added on to our Archives catalogue at

Archival Information

Archival history:

The photographs were found in the loft of Iris Murdoch and John Bayley's former home in Steeple Aston, Oxford.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Purchased for Kingston University Archives and Special Collections.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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