Marie Seton, recipients: Ronald Moody, Helene Moody

Letter from Marie Seton to Ronald and Helene Moody, addressed from near Aden, RMS Cicilia

4 July 1956

Created by
Marie Seton 1910–1985
Ronald Moody 1900–1984
Helene Moody 1902–1978
Letter from Marie Seton to Ronald and Helene Moody, addressed from near Aden, RMS Cicilia
4 July 1956
Document - correspondence
Tate Archive
Presented to Tate Archive by Cynthia Moody, the sculptor's niece, 1995.
TGA 956/1/2/58/24


This letter relates to a wide range of topics. Marie Seton starts the letter by describing the success of the film society movement in India. She refers to her sense that she made a mistake in staying on in America after her job finished and expresses regret that she has found no proper opening for Moody in India. Seton goes on to mention Freda Brilliant's efforts to make locals have their portraits done and describes and encounter with Herbert Marshall. She refers to the British legacy and attitudes in India and her dislike of most of the people on the ship (RMS Cicilia).

Most of the remainder of the letter relates to Krishna Menon and Indian politics. Seton tells Moody about her renewed relationship with Krishna Menon, despite vowing never to become involved with him in the 1930s, Menon's avowal regarding her misgivings, and her options with regards to a relationship with him. She goes on to discuss Menon's position in Congress, his lack of supporters in India aside from Nehru and Indira Gandhi, and the general hostility directed towards him. Seton defends him against his numerous detractors. She describes his background in Madras and caste attitudes his sense of being a stranger in his own land. She also provides an account of meeting him at Madras airport. Seton briefly refers to her relationship with Eisenstein and describes her feeling for Menon and their happiness together. She mentions Menon's planned trip to London. She tells Moody about the necessity of dissembling with Sushila and her husband on her return (presumably following the renewal of her relationship with Menon) and her castigation of them for their criticism of Menon and his politics. Seton also refers to Indian mores and her worries over Menon's personal lack of discretion. She tells Moody of her intention to write to Indira Gandhi and ask her to go and see his work.

A p.s. includes an account of Menon abandoning Anthony Eden at a luncheon to 'catch her [Seton's] chance company' in Feb 1955 and arrangements for Indira's visit to London and introductions there.

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