Ursula Vaughan Williams

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Vaughan Williams, Ursula Wood 1911–2007

(Joan Ursula Penton Lock, Ursula Wood Vaughan Williams, Ursula Wood)


See index for SATA sketch: Born March 15, 1911, in Valletta, Malta; died October 23, 2007, in London, England. Philanthropist, biographer, lyricist, poet, and novelist. Vaughan Williams encountered serious music later in life than most, having spent her childhood in a nomadic military family. What she discovered as a young woman in her twenties was the music of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, and it changed her life forever. She met the composer to offer him a libretto that she had written, and eventually they formed a musical collaboration that would ultimately lead to marriage. For the composer, who was nearly twice the age of his new wife, the marriage led seemingly to a rebirth of the creative muse and a prolific output of compositions in his later years. For her, it led to a life devoted to music as a librettist. An energetic promoter of her husband's music and those who would perform it, she also became a patron of young musicians and those who would support and finance their endeavors. Through all of this, Vaughan Williams continued to write. She is best known for her tributes to her husband: R.V.W.: A Biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams (1964) and (with John Lunn) Ralph Vaughan Williams: A Pictorial Biography (1971). She also published several verse collections between 1941 and 1984, including Aspects (1984), and three novels, including The Yellow Dress (1984). Vaughan Williams's autobiography Paradise Remembered was published in 2002.



Vaughan Williams, Ursula Wood, Paradise Remembered, Albion Music (London, England) 2002.


Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2007, p. B9.

Times (London, England), October 25, 2007, p. 76.

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VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, Ursula. Also writes as Ursula Wood. British (born Malta), b. 1911. Genres: Novels, Poetry, Songs/Lyrics and libretti, Autobiography/Memoirs, Biography. Career: Writer. Publications: No Other Choice, 1941; Fall of Leaf, 1944; Need for Speech, 1948; Wandering Pilgrimage, 1952; Silence and Music, 1959; Heirs and Rebels, 1963; Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1964; Metamorphoses, 1966; Set to Partners, 1968; (co- author) Pictorial Biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1971; Aspects (verse), 1983; The Yellow Dress (novel), 1984; Paradise Remembered (autobiography), 2002. LIBRETTI: The Sons of Light, 1951; Break to Be Built, 1961; The Sofa, 1965; Melita, 1968; The Brilliant and the Dark, 1969; David and Bathsheba, 1969; The Icy Mirror, 1972; Serenade, 1973; Aspects, 1978; Ode to Compassion, 1978; King of Macedon, 1979; Echoes, 1986; Insect Play, 1986. Address: 66 Gloucester Cres, London NW1 7EG, England.

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Vaughan Williams, Ursula (b Valletta, 1911). Eng. poet and librettist. Married composer Ralph Vaughan Williams 1953. For him wrote many texts incl. that for The Bridal Day (1938), verses for The Pilgrim's Progress (1951), and Four Last Songs (1954–8). Wrote RVW: a Biography (1964). Also wrote texts for other composers, 3 novels and 5 vols. of poetry.