Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema Correspondence

Scope and Content

Collection contains correspondence from Lawrence Alma Tadema about costume design with his collaborator Charles Karl of Nathan's the Costumiers; including one letter from Laura Alma Tadema to Karl, and a letter from Alma Tadema to Joseph Comyns Carr.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema (1836-1912) was born Lorenz Alma Tadema in the Netherlands. At 16 he began formal art training in Antwerp at the Academy of Art followed by a period of time at the Studio of Louis Jan de Taeye. In 1859 he joined the studio of Baron Henri Leys where he completed his first major painting: The Education of the Children of Clovis.

In 1863 he married Marie-Pauline Gressin Dumoulin and honeymooned in Pompeii. This trip was to influence much of his work including Silent Greeting (1889) and A Favourite Custom (1909)

In 1870, after the death of his son and wife, he and his two daughters moved to London. Tadema changed his first name to Lawrence and established himself as a major figure in the Victorian art world, becoming an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1876.

Tadema also worked on theatre design and production as well as moving towards designing furniture. In 1899 he was awarded a Knighthood, and in 1905 the Order of Merit.


This collection has been arranged in order of date, taking each piece of correspondence at item level.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from James Fergusson Books and Manuscripts 18/08/2013

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Material relating to Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, as well as the 19th century theatre in general, may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files. Please ask for details.