William Beechey collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Beechey to Charles Henry Parry the brother of the Arctic explorer Sir William Edward Parry

Administrative / Biographical History

William Beechey was born on 12 December 1753 at Burford, Oxfordshire. In 1772, he gave up his training as a lawyer to become a student at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. After exhibiting portraits in London and Norwich, where he remained for five years between 1782 and 1787, Beechey returned to London to enjoy a long and illustrious career as a portrait painter, becoming portrait painter to Queen Charlotte in 1793. His work 'Review of a Horse Guard with King George III and the Prince of Wales' (Royal Collections), painted in 1793, earned him a knighthood in 1798, the year in which he was elected a full member of the Royal Academy. His sons, Frederick William, George and Henry William, were also accomplished artists. He died on 28 January 1839.


The correspondence is arranged chronologically

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Arctic, exploration and development c500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Holland land Publishing, London (1994) ISBN number 0824076486 and Exploring Polar Frontiers, a historical encyclopaedia by William Mills San Diego and Oxford, 2003 Dictionary of National Biography, volume 4, Smith, Elder & Co. London (1885)

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible