Marie Seton, recipient: Ronald Moody

Letter from Marie Seton to Ronald Moody, addressed from Tokyo

21 May 1957

Created by
Marie Seton 1910–1985
Ronald Moody 1900–1984
Letter from Marie Seton to Ronald Moody, addressed from Tokyo
21 May 1957
Document - correspondence
Tate Archive
Presented to Tate Archive by Cynthia Moody, the sculptor's niece, 1995.
TGA 956/1/2/58/28


In this letter Marie Seton compares the standards of her hotel with squalor at the American airport in Okinawa and praises Air India. She asks Moody to help Menon with arrangements for the exhibition he (Menon) wants and informs Moody that she has discussed Menon's condition (nerves and paranoia) with Nehru. She writes about her stay in the Indian Prime Minister's House, her relationship with Indira Gandhi and Nehru, and their loneliness. She also writes about Menon's behaviour in general and particularly towards Nehru. She describes a visit from Menon, his terror at coping with his position as Minister, and her own fear that Menon will die soon. She refers to his sense of not belonging in India, which she has mentioned in previous letters. Seton mentions her meeting with a Congress Party functionary from Bombay and the affection Menon's staff have for him. She informs Moody that she has been reconciled with the Education Ministry after a disagreement and gives details about Nehru's daily regime, including another reference to Moody's 'Three Heads' on display in the Prime Minister's house. She also writes about Nehru and his famous visitors such as Bevan and Edwina Mountbatten and describes an episode involving her decision to wear a sari and Menon's reaction. Seton tells Moody about an encounter with Ela Reid on the plane from Delhi and reflects on past confrontations inspired by Mrs Pandit. She discusses her own current feelings and her relationship with Menon. She also refers to her family's connection with India and mentions a 1744 christening robe from Lucknow which she wore as a baby which now belongs to Pauli (Paul Robeson's son). She shares with Moody her thoughts on the vanishing vestiges of Raj influence. The letter concludes with an account of meeting a Thai friend with the Indian ambassador at Bangkok and a description of a show at the revue theatre in Tokyo with some general comments on Japanese culture.

The letter is interspersed throughout with pleas for Ronald to get in touch with Menon and try to help.

Archive context

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