Papers associated with Doyne Courtenay Bell F.S.A

Scope and Content

The material held by the archive is comprised of three separate sets of records. Two of these [DCB/2 and DCB/3] were acquired from an external source. The third [DCB/1] must formerly have been part of the Gallery's institutional archive but was relocated to a file of research notes at an unknown date. This material has subsequently been brought together as a collection relating to Bell.

DCB/1: Report submitted to John Murray by Sir George Scharf regarding Bell's unpublished manuscript material relating to royal internmnets [c 1888]

DCB/2: Letters from Sir George Scharf to Doyne Courtenay Bell (1864-1886)

DCB/3: Letters from various senders (1879-1887) and inventory of artworks compiled by Bell, apparently relating to his personal collection [c 1886].

Administrative / Biographical History

Doyne Courtenay Bell was born in 1830, in Gower Street, London, the son of a wine merchant. Educated at the London University School and Kings College, London, he subsequently spent several years in Brunswick mastering the Gerrman language. He was later selected by Albert, the Prince Consort, to assist with correspondence relating to the Privy Purse.and in 1876 was promoted to Permanent Secretary to the Privy purse, a post he held until his death on 26 Mar 1888. During his time in the Royal household, Bell became friends with the National Portrait Gallery's Director, Sir George Scharf (1820-1895) and Scharf respected his knowledge of historic portraiture (especially with regard to works in the Royal Collection) and also his understanding and love of music. Bell was Secretary to the committee which oversaw the completion of the Albert Memorial, which was unveiled in Hyde Park in 1872, and Bell wrote an associated guide 'The Albert Memorial: a desciptive and illustrative account of the national monument at Kensington'. In 1877 Bell also published 'Notices of the Historic Persons Buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, in the Tower of London: With an Account of the Discovery of the Supposed Remains of Queen Anne Boleyn' (London: J. Murray). In that same year Bell also became a member of the Society of Antiquaries. Bell died at Lower Grosvenor Place, London on 26 Mar 1888.

This biographical description is largely based on Sir George Scharf's obituary of Doyne C. Bell published in 'The Athenaeum', No 3154, 7 Apr 1888.

Access Information

Available to view by appointment in the Heinz Archive and Library Public Study Room, to make an appointment contact Archive Reception . Although records are generally available for public consultation, some information in them, such as personal data or information supplied to the Gallery in confidence, may be restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Personal photography is permitted for research purposes only. Photocopying is not permitted.