Papers of the Horsley Family, 18th-20th cent.

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Eng. a. 2001, b. 2003-9, c. 2196-269, d. 2058-95, e. 2134-304
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English, Danish, Swedish, French, and German.
  • Physical Description
      291 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

This collection consists of diaries, correspondence, drawings and other papers of four generations of the Horsley family, each of which produced talented men and women, especially in the fields of art, music and the theatre. The papers provide a wide variety of material for the study of 19th- and early 20th-century society and family life, and include some papers of Mendelssohn. For accounts of the collection see Bodleian Library Record, XIII (1988-91), 69-71, 330-3.

Administrative / Biographical History

Papers of the Horsley family, including the musician William Horsley (1774-1858), and the artists John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903), and Rosamund Horsley (1864-1949), son and daughter of William Horsley. Further details can be found in the introduction to the online catalogue (

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

The collection was given to the Bodleian Library in 1987.


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

Related Material

A collection of printed music by or belonging to William Horsley, given with the family papers, is separately catlogued as [pr. bk.] Horsley in the Music Section of the Bodleian.

See also Papers of Sir Augustus and Maria, Lady Callcott. The Horsley family were related to the Callcotts through the marriage of Sir Augustus's niece, Elizabeth Wall Callcott to William Horsley.

Twenty letters from Mendelssohn to members of the family and several pieces of autograph music (including an arrangement for piano duet of the 'Overture to the Isles of Fingal'), part of this collection, are described (as MSS. Horsley b. 1, c. 1) in Peter Ward Jones, Catalogue of the Mendelssohn papers in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, III (Tutzing, 1989), 308-11.