AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999): Items belonging to Iris Murdoch presented by Audi Bayley

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2108 KUAS191
Held at: Kingston University
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Murdoch, Iris (1919-1999): Items belonging to Iris Murdoch presented by Audi Bayley
Date(s): [1820-1999]
Level of description: Fonds
Extent: 2 boxes
Name of creator(s): Murdoch | Dame | Jean Iris | 1919-1999 | author


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. ,br/>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:

Items belonging to Iris Murdoch presented by Audi Bayley. These items were from Iris Murdoch's former home in Charlbury Road and include letters written by Iris Murdoch to Borys and Audi Villers [later Audi Bayley], a planning notebook for Jackson's Dilemma, and a range of objects. Includes:
1) Large bust of Iris Murdoch mounted on marble
2) Iris Murdoch's teddy bear 'Jimbo'
3) Painting by Iris Murdoch 1941
4) Tapestry by Iris Murdoch of fish with the initials IM and JB
5) Gold edged bowl
6) 5 stones and 9 Asian religious figurines / icons from Murdoch's writing desk
7) Letters from Iris Murdoch to Audi Bayley and her first husband Boris Villiers
8) Green box containing brooch- appears to be enamelled George IV shilling from 1820s
9) 4 replica medieval icons mounted on wood
10) Framed photographs from Iris Murdoch's study of Murdoch as a child and Murdoch's parents
11) 3 Canadian stone figurines depicting an owl, a penguin and a seal
12) 2 stone figurines of a cow and a lion, with painted and gilded details
13) 11 dress necklaces worn by Murdoch and kept in her study
14) A notebook with planning notes by Murdoch for the novel 'Jackson's Dilemma'

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:


System of arrangement:

Letters from Iris Murdoch to Audi and Boris Villers form the first series. Objects from Murdoch's study form a second series and have been grouped by type.

Conditions governing access:

Available to view by appointment in the Kingston University Archives and Special Collections search room.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Some reproduction possible, please contact Kingston University Archives and Special Collections for more information.

Finding aids:

Please visit our Archives catalogue

Archival Information

Archival history:

Items collected by Iris Murdoch during her lifetime and held in her house in Charlbury Road prior to transfer to the Archive.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Items kindly presented by Audi Bayley.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Further objects belonging to Iris Murdoch can be found in GB 2108 KUAS202

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
December 2017

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"