Gillott Letters

Scope and Content

Letters from various artists, including William Etty, Thomas Danby, Francis Danby and others, 1843-1857.

Administrative / Biographical History

Joseph Gillott of Birmingham, pen manufacturer and patron of the arts. In 1821, he moved from his birthplace, Sheffield, where he had been employed as a cutler, to Birmingham in order to seek employment and by 1830, he was involved in the manufacture of steel pens. He started out in a very small way selling pens at a shilling each to a firm of stationers but his business rapidly increased and he ultimately employed more than 400 people at his works in Graham Street, Newhall Hill. He used the personal fortune he amassed to acquire a large collection of paintings which included works of art by Turner, Etty (who was a personal friend) and other English artists On his death, the paintings were sold at auction for nearly £170,000 and his collection of violins for £4,000.

Reference: Dictionary of National Biography ( London 1908 ).

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in 1998.

Other Finding Aids

Please see full catalogue for further details.

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 Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult.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.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department holds in its printed book collection - a copy of the Catalogue of the renowned collection of ancient and modern pictures and water-colour drawings of that well-known patron of art, Joseph Gillott, Esq., deceased, removed from his late residence at Birmingham: with the sale prices and names of the purchasers: 1st, Friday, April 19th, and following day : 2nd, Friday, April 26th, and following day: 3rd, Friday, May 3rd, and following day: sold by auction, by Messrs. Christie, Manson & Woods ... in three portions