History has shown that even the most talented of artists struggle to make ends meet during their own lifetimes.
Despite their genius, such luminaries as Dylan Thomas, Mozart and Van Gogh spent their final years in the gutter.
And it seems Worcestershire's Sir Edward Elgar, while far from destitute, also had money worries of his own.
A collection of letters which provide an insight into the financial dealings of arguably Britain's greatest composer are to go under the hammer later this month.
The letters, which carry an estimate between £500 and £700, reveal what a leading composer of the time would expect to receive for performances of his greatest works.
The collection, dating from 1910, is an exchange of correspondence between the composer and his publishers, Novellos, concerning the royalties on his highly regarded First Symphony.
In the letters Elgar asks for details on the extra fees he was to be paid for performing his works above his composing royalty.
The reply from Novellos includes a list of the fees payable by 30 concert venues worldwide who had performed the symphony between June 1909 and February 1910, with Elgar receiving just £208 as a result. It also appears that publishers a century ago were also faced with plagiarism issues. According to the letters, Novellos claimed to be experiencing difficulties with payment from Bonn and Munich and the return of Elgar's music from Frankfurt and Rome.
Richard Westwood-Brookes, documents expert for the auctioneers, said: "Elgar was always desperate for money throughout his life, and these letters show how much he needed the financial rewards of his composing genius.
"One wonders whether Elgar ever received true reward for his efforts and it is little wonder that some ten years later just after his wife died, he abandoned large scale composing altogether, saying that it was so much the better for posterity and prosperity."
Elgar was born in 1857 at Broadheath, near Worcester, where his father owned a music shop and tuned pianos. The young Elgar studied the music available in his father's shop and taught himself to play a wide variety of instruments.
Despite contending with the prejudice he endured for his Roman Catholicism, Elgar's First Symphony was one of the most spectacular successes of all British music with more than 90 performances world wide in its first year alone.
The letters will be on sale at Mullock Madeley's auction of historical documents, autographs and ephemera at Ludlow Racecourse, Shropshire, on Wednesday June 21.
Also in the sale are three other original letters by Elgar including one on the song cycle he composed especially for the memorial concert to his close friend, August Jaeger, whom he immortalised as 'Nimrod' in the Enigma Variations.
* Further information on the auction can be obtained from Richard Westwood-Brookes on 01568 770803 or Mullock Madeley's auctioneers on 01694 771771.