Papers of Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1826-1846, comprising letters to William Newton, his landlord, 1830-1845, relating to house repairs, his debts, requests for loans, death of his daughter, 1831; legal papers relating to Haydon's imprisonment for debt in the King's Bench, 1830, namely inventory of his goods for debt, authorisation to distrain goods, notice of court hearing; letter from Sir George Philips, 1836, concerning his picture 'Christ's Agony'; receipts for Haydon's life insurance policy payments, 1833-1845; Newton's marked copy of the catalogue of the sale of Haydon's effects, 1846.
HAYDON, Benjamin Robert (1786-1846)
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Born, Plymouth, 1786; educated, Grammar schools at Plymouth and Plympton; moved to London to establish his career, 1804; exhibited his first picture, `Joseph and Mary resting on the Road to Egypt', at the Royal Academy, 1807; continued to specialise in producing large historical pictures, but struggled to stay solvent throughout his career; exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art, 1809; publicly attacked the Royal Academy in the Examiner, 1812; successfully exhibited `The Judgment of Solomon', 1814; involved with the controversy on the purchase of the Elgin marbles for the nation, 1815; set up a school to rival the Royal Academy; successfully exhibited `Christ's Entry into Jerusalem', 1820; arrested for debt, 1821; imprisoned in the King's Bench for debt and petitioned parliament to grant money for the decoration of churches and public buildings with paintings, 1823; continued to petition parliament, and ministers for support of his projects, including the decoration of the houses of parliament and scheme for schools of design; leased 58 Connaught Terrace, London from and had a close friendship with William Newton, who gave him considerable financial assistance; imprisoned for debt three more times, finally in 1830; exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1828 and again, 1842; involved in establishing an opposition school to the Somerset House government school of design, closed in 1839 after Somerset House introduced life drawing; lectured and wrote on painting and design, 1835-1846; committed suicide, 1846.
Publications: The Judgement of Connoisseurs upon Works of Art compared with that of Professional Men, in reference more particularly to the Elgin Marbles (London, 1816); New Churches considered with respect to the opportunities they afford for the Encouragement of Painting (London, 1818); Comparaison entre la tete d'un des Chevaux de Verise, qui etaient sur l'arc triomphale des Thuilleries, et qu'on dit etre de Lysippe, et la Tete de Cheval d'Elgin du Parthenon (London, 1818); Descriptions of Drawings from the Cartoons and Elgin Marbles by Mr. Haydon's Pupils (London, 1819); Some Enquiry into the Causes which have obstructed the Course of Historical Painting for the last seventy years in England (1829); On Academies of Art (more particularly the Royal Academy) and their pernicious effect on the Genius of Europe. Lecture xiii (London, 1839); Thoughts on the relative value of Fresco and Oil Painting as applied to the Architectural Decorations of the Houses of Parliament (London, 1842); Lectures on Painting and Design 2 vols (London, 1844-6).
The papers are arranged largely chronologically.
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Acquired by Westfield College.
Other Finding Aids
Sources: Dictionary of National Biography CD-ROM (Oxford University Press, 1995); Historical Manuscripts Commission On-line National Register of Archives. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.
Conditions Governing Use
Photocopying at the discretion of the Archivist.
The Diary of Benjamin Robert Haydon edited by W B Pope 5 vols (Harvard, 1960-1963); The Life and Death of Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1786-1846 Eric George 2nd edition (Oxford, 1967); The Autobiography and Memoirs of Benjamin Robert Haydon edited by Tom Taylor, with an introduction by Aldous Huxley 2 vols (Peter Davies, 1926); Benjamin Robert Haydon David Blayney Brown, Robert Woof, Stephen Hebron (The Wordsworth Trust, 1996).