NPG - Papers of James Donald Milner

Scope and Content

The following materials can be found in James Donald Milner's papers:

- Papers concerning his work for the National Portrait Gallery, comprised of correspondence concerning general gallery business (1893-1895) and a report on portraits belonging to the National Portrait Gallery temporarily on display or in storage at the National Gallery (1894)

- Portrait research comprising a series of small sketchbooks (1893-1903) with hand drawn copies of portraits, in pencil, with descriptive notes and a notebook regarding portraits in the Dilettanti Society collection at the Grafton Gallery (1896)

- Correspondence and research notes (1925-1927) regarding Tilly Kettle

- Private papers (1909-1918) comprising one small personal notebook; letter from his brother Archibald Donald Milner written whilst serving in France during the First World War and a file of correspondence to Milner from various senders, largely regarding his appointment as Director in 1916 (also three warrants and two envelopes, financial records of his brother Archibald (1911-1914))

Administrative / Biographical History

James Donald Milner F.S.A. (1874-1927) was born on the 20th of November 1874. His whole career was spent in the service of the National Portrait Gallery. He joined the staff in 1893 at the age of 19 and was made clerk in 1895, then Acting Assistant Keeper in 1896. Before his appointment as Director in 1916 he worked for Directors Sir George Scharf, Lionel Cust and Sir Charles Holmes and acquired an extensive knowledge of painting and portraiture. He published works relating to portraits of Botanists exhibited in the museums of the Royal Botanic Gardens and the artist Tilly Kettle and contributed to the Second Supplement of the Dictionary of National Biography. He was elected fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1918. He died in post as Director of the Gallery on the 15th of August 1927.

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.

Other Finding Aids

The complete catalogue for this archive can be searched via the NPG Archive Catalogue .

Conditions Governing Use

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