Monday, October 17, 2016

A Headstone for Christopher Millard

A visitor to the grave of Christopher Sclater Millard (1872-1927) in St Mary’s Cemetery at Kensal Green will find only dirt and weeds.  Although in his will he specified ‘none but the simplest memorial’, his many admirers have come to the view that a headstone should be erected to commemorate Millard’s enduring importance as bibliophile and bibliographer. 

Millard had a gift for friendship, and he played so important a part in the literary life of a century ago that he has already been the subject of two full-length biographies.  He was friend and mentor, for example, to the young Anthony Powell and to Proust’s translator Charles Scott Moncrieff.  An unabashed admirer of Oscar Wilde, Millard was close to Robbie Ross, with whom he collaborated in the production of the collected edition and subsequent reprints of Wilde’s works.  He was an assiduous and imaginative bookdealer ‒ his catalogues are much prized by collectors ‒ but his most important achievement was his astonishingly comprehensive bibliography of Oscar Wilde, still the standard work and a landmark in the history of bibliography.

The Millard Headstone Committee has been set up, with the encouragement of the Millard family, to raise funds and commission the headstone.  The Committee is now appealing to admirers of Christopher Millard, indeed to all bibliophiles, to subscribe as generously as they can to its project.  As the commissioning of a headstone is not an inexpensive enterprise, the Committee is boldly requesting individuals and literary societies to consider contributions of the order of £50 or £100, although lesser amounts will be gratefully received. 

The distinguished accounting firm Goldwins will be looking after the subscriptions, which the Committee would prefer be made by bank transfer 

Lloyds Bank, Sort Code 30-99-64
Account Number 01686772
Account Name Goldwins Ltd
Annotation ‘Millard Project - [Subscriber’s Name]

although cheques (made out to ‘Goldwins Ltd’) or credit card payments are also welcome.  Subscribers are asked to identify themselves as having made a payment, by sending a brief email to the Committee Secretary, Dr Robert Scoble and to Goldwins.  It is proposed that a limited edition pamphlet or booklet will be produced commemorating the erection of the headstone and acknowledging by name ‒ unless anonymity has been requested ‒ the generous subscribers who assured the success of the project.

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