Crace family, interior decorators: papers

Scope and Content

Crace and Gregory Genealogy (1701 - 1892), including biographical and autobiographical notes, memorial notices, correspondence and family trees; Papers of and relating to John Crace, including bills, biographical notes, catalogue for sale of John Crace's library, certificates, sketches of landscapes and travel journal (1776 - 1953); papers of and relating to Edward Crace and the Georgian Crace family, including bills, biographical notes, Kensington Palace catalogues, correspondence birth and death certificates and wills (1742 - 1957); papers of and relating to Frederick Crace, including account books, bills, notebooks, press cuttings, sketchbooks and statements (1799 - 1907); papers of and relating to John Gregory Crace including correspondence with family, press cuttings, bills and inventories, sketchbooks and travel diaries (1691 - 1892); papers of and relating to John Dibblee Crace including biographical notes, correspondence, postcards, diaries, photographs, press cuttings, publications, notebooks on expenses and interior decoration, sketchbooks and travel notes (1830 - 1919); miscellaneous family papers including notes on family history, photograph albums and portfolios (1622-1898); papers of L[ewis] P[axton] Crace including sketches and photography (ca. 1908); papers of J.F. Crace including biographical notes and correspondence (Undated).

Administrative / Biographical History

Five members of the Crace family practised as interior decorators from ca. 1750 to 1899. Edward Crace (1725 - 1799) founded a decorating firm in London ca. 1768. This business continued in unbroken succession as a partnership until 1899, headed by four of his direct descendants. Edward Crace was also appointed the Curator of the Royal Pictures from the mid-1770s until his death in 1799. John Crace (1754 - 1819), his son, went into the business in 1780 and was employed by Henry Holland and other leading architects of the day. Frederick Crace (1779 - 1859), the grandson of Edward Crace, worked almost exclusively for the royal family and was responsible for the decoration of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton from 1815 to 1822. John Gregory Crace (1809 - 1889), the great grandson of Edward Crace, was associated with A.W.N. Pugin from 1843. He designed furniture and stained glass as well as decorative schemes for the Manchester Art Treasures exhibition, 1857 and the London International Exhibition, 1862. John Dibblee Crace (1838 - 1919), the great great grandson of Edward Crace, worked on schemes in several styles but his work was predominantly influenced by his studies of Italian Renaissance art. The Crace firm closed in 1899 when John Dibblee Crace decided he could not continue to run the partnership single-handedly.


The Crace family papers were obtained in three separate acquisitions between 1992 and 2001, and from different sources. As such the original order and sequence of the papers is not retained. The three series have therefore been arranged according to the related name or creator, and numbered according to the respective acquisition dates.

The 1992 acquisition had been organized into series relating to individual Crace family members prior to its arrival with the Archive of Art and Design. This order is still largely reflected in the item list.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Study Rooms by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

AAD/1992/3: Gift of Eileen Crace to the Victoria and Albert Museum, Furniture and Woodwork Department, 1979. Transferred to the National Art Library, Archive of Art and Design, 1992.

AAD/2000/15: Purchased from Phillips, 2000.

AAD/2001/6: Gift of Sir John and Lady Johnston

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Related Material

Designs by various members of the Crace family can be found in the V&A Paintings, Designs, Photographs and Prints department and accessed via the Prints and Drawings study room at South Kensington.