The British Library has acquired the original manuscript of one
of Britten's most famous works, The Young Person's Guide to the
Orchestra. The complete draft score was sold at Sotheby's in
November 2011 to an overseas buyer, who paid £212,250 on an
estimate of £40,000–£60,000. But the UK Culture Minister placed a
temporary export bar on the manuscript, to give time for funds to
be raised to keep it in the UK. The British Library was able to
find the money and acquired the manuscript through a private treaty
sale at the end of March.
No earlier sketches for The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra are known to survive, and it would appear that Britten composed the piece directly into the draft score, which he completed on 31 December 1945. Britten subsequently wrote out a full orchestral score and gave away the draft score, which remained unknown until last year.