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07 October 2016

* EXTRA * EXTRA * A newë work is come on hond

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield—hardly someone that I expected would come up on this blog—once categorized the issues facing the US intelligence services as the KNOWN KNOWNS, the KNOWN UNKNOWNS, and the UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS.  Today I present something which I suppose must fall into the very rare category of UNKNOWN KNOWNS.  This is a discovery in the sense that it has been recovered from obscurity, but as it was originally published it would be hard to say that it was truly one of the UNKNOWNS.  

The November 1919 issue of the Oxford literary review The Topaz of Ethiopia (which sounds like it ought to be a Humphrey Bogart movie) contained at its centerfold the following piece of music:
SOURCE:  digital scan of a digital scan [!]; unpaginated middle bifolio of The Topaz of Ethiopia Vol. I no. 4 (Nov. 1919);
For larger image, see this page.
And what musical W.W. was in Oxford in November 1919, particularly smitten with French music?  None other than William Turner Walton, aged 17,  right in the middle of failing all three attempts at his Responsions.   

The credit for uncovering this miniature goes to Dr. Eric Webb, who found it in the course of doing research on Robert Graves, one of the editors of this short-lived journal.  Among the others were G. H. Johnston (Lord Derwent), a Sitwell connection, which provides a link to Walton.

My congratulations to Dr. Webb, and my thanks to Stewart Craggs for passing it along to me; and to Alessandra Vinciguerra of the William Walton Trust for allowing me this scoop.