Sketch book of Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828), painter, 1810

Scope and Content

The sketch book (MS 456/1) contains 27 watercolours, generally in grey wash, together with threepencil sketches by Richard Parkes Bonington. The subjects are usually given more than onetreatment (four times in one instance) with minor changes of position and shadow. They illustrate ariver view; a stream and bridge with distant view of a village; a bridge and house; fishermen;trees; a folly; a Grecian statue; a row of houses; a church and house; Old Radford church[Nottinghamshire]; a bridge with waterfall and horse and cart; and a bay with tall ships. The pencilsketches are of two people and a dog; a woman washing clothes in a stream; and sheep and a shepherdwith distant cattle.

The sketch book is accompanied by a printed article about Bonington by C. Reginald Grundy,undated (MS 456/2/1) and a book review clipped from the Nottingham Guardian about S.C. KainesSmith's Gartin and Bonington, 1922 (MS 456/2/2).

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Parkes Bonington was born in Arnold, Nottinghamshire in 1802 but spent most of hisboyhood in Nottingham. His father was working at that time as an artist and his mother was ateacher. In 1815 they moved to France, initially to Calais where Bonington senior establishedhimself in the lace trade. Young Bonington showed a natural aptitude for drawing, which may havebeen encouraged with lace design initially in mind. In 1817 he became a student at the Ecole desBeaux Arts in Paris. He toured frequently, making sketches as he went. His landscape work inwatercolour won immediate recognition. In 1822 he exhibited at the Paris Salon. He visited Italy in1826 and in the same year had his first exhibition at the Royal Academy London.

Ill health brought him back to London from the Continent, but treatment failed and he died on 23September 1828, aged only twenty-five. He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.


No archival arrangement has been necessary

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.


Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the collection. Copyright in thedescription belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Conditions Governing Use

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make published use of the sketch book must be sought in advance inwriting from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

Custodial History

The sketch book was given to the library of University College Nottingham in 1939.

Related Material

  • The University of Nottingham; Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections: Researchpapers relating to Richard Parkes Bonington compiled by Nottingham historian, Sydney Race.Reference: MS 116

Geographical Names