This file of sketches and notes was purchased by the Gallery in 2003 alongside the Diary and Account Book of his father, Sir William Beechey [See WB1/1]. Both the Diary and Account Book and the present set of sketches were previously owned by descendants of Beechey. The Diary and Account Book was documented as being in the possession of Sydney Chancellor by William Roberts who wrote his study of Beechey in 1907 (in which the account book features). Roberts stated that this was by descent from the artist as Chancellor's wife was a granddaughter of the artist's son, Henry William Beechey. [See Roberts, Sir William Beechey, R.A. (London: Duckworth and Co., 1907), pp. 220-37]. The volume and sketches were offered to the Gallery for purchase in 1893 by Chancellor but declined by the then Director, Sir George Scharf.
The 15 sheets of sketches and notes are undated, but one sheet is signed 'H. W. Beechey'. The sketches include landscape scenes as well as sketches probably after old master paintings and painted portraits of unnamed sitters. Notes on the reverse of sketches are partial and relate to academic subjects including Joshua Reynolds, architecture and the history of art.