Letters of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Scope and Content

Correspondence: mainly to Sir George Henschel, about the Royal Academy and social affairs, 1877-1891. A further 16 letters are mostly to Mr & Mrs George Boughton.

Administrative / Biographical History

Lawrence Alma-Tadema was born in Friesland in the Netherlands in 1836. He was trained in Antwerp and came into contact with Baron Henri Ley (1815-1869), a painter of sixteenth century Flemish historical subjects and Louis de Taeye (1822-1890) a painter and professor of archaeology at the Antwerp Academy. Following his first marriage to Marie Pauline Gressin Dumoulin de Boisgirard in 1863, he visited Italy and, influenced by the archaeological remains he saw in Florence, Rome, Naples and Pompeii, he developed a life long interest in classical archaeology and architecture. He began to acquire a reputation as a painter of historical subjects, particularly of Greek and Roman antiquity. Between 1865 and !870, he lived in Brussels but then moved to London. He was remarried in 1871, to Laura Epps, a former pupil, who also practised as an artist. He was a very prolific painter, producing more than 400 paintings in his lifetime, and his pictures sold well. His success, popularity and wealth continued to grow and he regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy, becoming an Associate Member in 1876 and a full member in 1879. He was knighted in 1899, awarded the Order of Merit in 1905 and the Royal Institute of British Architects' Gold Medal in 1906. He was buried in St Paul's Cathedral in 1912.

Reference: University of Birmingham, Special Collections Department, Online Archive Catalogue ( http://calmview.bham.ac.uk/ ). Accessed May 2002.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

These letters were purchased and their acquisition is noted in the Librarian's annual report for 1954/55.

Other Finding Aids

Please see archive catalogue for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the following collections: Letters Additional of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (GB 150 ATLAdd) and the photographic archive of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (which also includes drawings, prints and tracings) (GB 0150 A-T).


This collection, together with other holdings of Alma-Tadema materials, were micropublished by IDC Publishers in 1998 as a microform collection with an accompanying guide.

Corporate Names