Papers and sketchbooks of Robert Kitson

Scope and Content

Comprises: (i) 79 sketchbooks (1903-1947); (ii) 3 weather record notebooks (1911-1936); (iii) 1 mileage/travel record notebook (1925-1929); (iv) File of press cuttings relating to Kitson's family, life (including obituary notices), and exhibitions; (v) [Sale catalogue of] The Elmet Hall Estate ... 1919, with additional interleaved photographs of the hall and gardens; (vi) Notebook (with inserts), containing records relating to the Casa Cuseni; (vii) Photographs and papers relating to some of the works by J.S. Cotman, owned by R.H. and S.D. Kitson, with typescript copies of 5 letters from Cotman; (viii) Miscellaneous correspondence (1896-1945); (ix) Family correspondence (1905-1947); Photograph of Sir Alfred East, with Memorial Exhibition catalogue, February 1914; (x) Album of photographs of the mosaics by Sir Frank Brangwyn in St. Aidan's Church, Leeds; (xi) two Brangwyn exhibition catalogues, 1911 and 1983; (xii) Temple Newsam House, Leeds: Acquisitions 1946 (includes works donated by R.H. Kitson); (xii) Portfolio of drawings (mostly architectural)

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Kitson was the son of G.H. Kitson of Elmet Hall, Roundhay, Leeds. The Kitson family business was locomotive engineering, but Robert Kitson became an artist (mainly in the medium of watercolour), exhibiting regularly at the Leeds Fine Arts Club, the Royal Academy, and the Society of British Artists. He was a pupil and friend of Alfred East, R.A., and it was through East that he met Sir Frank Brangwyn and became his friend and patron, commissioning a number of works, most notably the mosaic cycle for the apse of St. Aidan's Church in Roundhay. For health reasons, Kitson settled in Sicily and designed his own villa, the Casa Cuseni in Taormina, which he was forced to abandon after the outbreak of the Second World War; he returned there shortly before his death in 1947


The sketchbooks were given the numbers 1 to 80 (wanting no. 79), by Dr David Boswell

Access Information

Access is unrestricted

Acquisition Information

The gift of Miss Daphne Phelps, niece of Robert Kitson, via Dr David Boswell, August 2001


In English