Ronald Duncan was a prolific West Country author who is best known for writing the libretto for Benjamin Britten’s ‘Rape of Lucretia’. His career and interests were diverse; spanning farming, pacifism, poetry, music, fiction, play-writing and journalism. Born in 1914 in Rhodesia, Duncan developed an attachment to Devon at a young age and spent most of his life in the county; dying in 1982 in Barnstaple. This strong sense of place comes across in much of his work.
The Ronald Duncan Archive at the University of Exeter is the largest collection of Duncan documentation in existence and provides a wealth of research material on post 1930’s literary culture, the cultural heritage of the south west, literary and theatrical criticism, the composition of opera, the establishment of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre and literary/artistic relationships from the 1930’s to 1980’s. It consists of personal papers including photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, manuscripts, letters, audio recordings and artworks. The archive also includes a number of sketches and some personal material relating to his wife Rose Marie Duncan (nee Hansom), a talented Illustrator.