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Keynes: The Papers of Lydia Lopokova Keynes

Reference Code: GBR/0272/LLK

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises materials related to the performances of Lydia Lopokova Keynes, pieces of her writing, correspondence, and other items that chronicle her life, including photographs, diaries, scrapbooks and reminiscences by others. Although the collection covers a variety of topics, Lydia's professional interests have led to a concentration of items concerning the subjects of ballet and drama.


  • Creation: 1903 - 1986


Conditions Governing Use

For permission to quote in print from the unpublished papers, apply to the Librarian, King's College, Cambridge CB2 1ST. For permission to quote in print from those writing of Keynes which were part of the 'Collected writings' series, contact the Archivist for further details.

Biographical / Historical

Lydia Lopokova was born in St. Petersburg in 1892 and trained at the Imperial Ballet School. She left Russia in 1910, joining the Diaghilev ballet for the first time. She stayed with the ballet only briefly, however, leaving for the United States after the summer tour, where she remained for six years. She rejoined Diaghilev in 1916, dancing with the Ballets Russes, and her former partner Vaslav Nijinsky, in New York and later in London. She first came to the attention of Londoners in 'The Good-humoured Ladies' in 1918, and followed this with a raucous performance with Leonide Massine in the Can-Can of 'La Boutique Fantasque'. When her marriage to the company's business manager, Randolfo Barrochi, broke down in 1919, the dancer abruptly disappeared, but she decided to rejoin the Diaghilev for the second time in 1921, when she danced the Lilac Fairy and Princess Aurora in 'The Sleeping Princess'. During these years she became a friend of Stravinsky, and of Picasso, who drew her many times. She also quickly became familiar with the members of the Bloomsbury set, and was introduced to her future husband, John Maynard Keynes. They married in 1925, once her divorce to Barrochi had been obtained. Besides being involved in the early days of English ballet, Lydia Keynes appeared on the stage in London and Cambridge from 1928 and broadcast on the BBC. She lived with J.M. Keynes in London, Cambridge and Sussex until his death in 1946, and continued to live in the same places thereafter, although she largely disappeared from public view. Lydia Lopokova Keynes died in 1981, aged eighty-eight.


13 archive box(es) (13 boxes) : paper

6 volume(s)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Dr. Milo Keynes deposited the papers of his aunt in King's College Library in 1983.

Related Materials

For the papers of Lydia Lopokova's husband, John Maynard Keynes, see King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge, JMK.


The biographical note provided in the introduction to this catalogue was taken from 'Lydia Lopokova', ed. Milo Keynes (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983).


The papers of Lydia Lopokova Keynes were catalogued as a separate series within the papers of John Maynard Keynes, her husband, when the most recent catalogue of his papers was completed in 1993 (at which time, they were all given the reference JMK/LLK). However, it has been decided that in this new database version of the catalogue, produced in 2003, the two sets of papers should be listed separately. Reference numbers have remained the same, except for the omission of 'JMK' at the beginning. Hence, the file formerly listed as JMK/LLK/1/3, now removed from the catalogue of J.M. Keynes, is simply listed LLK/1/3. These changes have not been noted among the former references for individual items.


Keynes, Lydia Lopokova (1892-1981), ballet dancer

2003-03-21 10:41:16+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archive Centre, King's College, Cambridge Repository

King's College
Cambridge CB2 1ST United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 331444