Charles Francis Bell, annotated copy of 'Self & Partners (mostly self)' by C. J. Holmes

Scope and Content

Copy of former Director of the National Portrait Gallery Sir Charles Holmes' (1868-1936) autobiography 'Self & Partners (mostly self)' containing annotations and inserts by Charles Francis Bell who was a contemporary of Holmes. An explanation on the annotations and inserts is given at the front of the volume. The annotations expand on Holmes' text or offer alternative facts. The inserts include letters received by Bell, including some from Holmes, with some relating to Holmes' appointment as Director of the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. Also inserted are more lengthy annotations which would not have fitted in to the margins. The back of the volume contains copies of correspondence and papers relating to the end of Bell's career at the Ashmolean, including one in Latin.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Francis Bell (1871-1966) was the son of Robert Courtenay Bell, a banker, and Clara Poynter, whose brother was Sir Edward Poynter, a director of the National Gallery from 1894-1904. In 1896 Bell became Assistant Keeper at the Ashmolean Museum, where he organised and catalogued the collection on a small budget. In 1909 he became Keeper of Fine Art.

Bell was a portrait specialist and in 1910 was invited to succeed Lionel Cust as Director of the National Portrait Gallery, which he refused - Charles Holmes was appointed instead. Between 1910-1940 Bell served as Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. Bell mentored several younger art historians including Kenneth Clark who succeeded him at the Ashmolean in 1931 and Francis Watson.

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.

Related Material

Papers of Sir Charles Holmes are also held in the National Portrait Gallery Archive and have been catalogued under reference NPG9.