Sketch-books of Henry Wallis

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Eng. d. 3552-8, e. 3414-27
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      21 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

The sketch-books mostly contain sketches in pencil, with some sketches in black crayon, charcoal, chalk, pen-and-ink and watercolours. The sketches depict Italian paintings, Egyptian and Italian artefacts, architectural details from buildings, towns, landscapes, figures and animals. Many of the landscapes and street scenes are Egyptian and Italian.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Wallis (1830-1916) was an artist, ceramics expert and collector. He achieved acclaim as a painter with the exhibition of his portrait 'The Death of Chatterton' at the Royal Academy in 1856, and followed up his success with 'The Stonebreaker', which was exhibited in 1858. Although he continued to paint and exhibit, he became increasingly interested in archaeology and ceramics. He travelled extensively and became an authority on Persian, Egyptian, Greek and Byzantine ceramics. He wrote and illustrated twenty volumes on ceramics during the period 1885-1899. For further details see Dictionary of National Biography and Timothy Wilson's article, 'A Victorian artist as ceramic collector: the letters of Henry Wallis', parts 1-2, Journal of the History of Collections , 14, no.1 (2002) pp.139-159 and no.2 (2002) pp.231-269.

Conditions Governing Access

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

Bought, Campbell-Wilson (art dealers), 24 Mar. 2003.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue of the collection is available online at

Custodial History

Provenance as given by Campbell-Wilson (art dealers): Harold Wallis (1859-1933), son; Mary Wallis (died 1964), daughter-in-law; Vera Langley (1910-1988), cousin and then by direct descent.

Related Material

See also Papers of Henry Wallis and his son, Harold Wallis (MSS. Eng. c. 7039-41, c. 7049-51, Eng. e. 3394-6, e. 3401).

Geographical Names