Correspondence of Daniel Maclise R.A. (1806-1870)

Scope and Content

The correspondence includes: an undated letter to MacGregor; an undated letter to Hall and Mrs. Hall; a letter to G. Jones, R.A.., about military objects of the period of Waterloo, probably for use in the Waterloo fresco in the House of Lords, 1858; letters of 1862; and, a letter to a merchant about a supply of wine.

Administrative / Biographical History

Daniel Maclise was born in Cork (Corcaigh) in 1806. He was educated at an English day-school in the city, where he showed an early proficiency at drawing. In 1820 he was working in a bank but soon left to devote himself to art, studying at the new (in 1822) Cork Academy. An early success was a drawing of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) which was lithographed and became very popular. He then opened a studio, and he was also introduced to the Irish antiquary Thomas Crofton Croker (1798-1854) whose second edition of Fairy legends and traditions of the south of Ireland contained a number of illustrations by Maclise. In 1827 he went to London and made an early success with a sketch of actor-manager Charles (John) Kean (1811-1868) in the role of Norval in Douglas at Drury Lane, which was again lithographed. In 1828 he commenced studies at the Academy schools and in 1829 he exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1830, Maclise began a series of character portraits under the nom de plume of Alfred Croquis, and he continued with these until 1838. He drew Scott, Coleridge, Thackeray, Wordsworth, Charles Lamb, Carlyle, Leigh Hunt, Disraeli, and Talleyrand. In 1840 he was elected to the Royal Academy and in 1855 he acted as a juror at the Paris Exhibition. In 1857 he put forward proposals for the decoration of the Royal Gallery in the House of Lords. These included Wellington and Bluecher at Waterloo and The death of Nelson on board the Victory. Daniel Maclise died on 25 April 1870 at his home on Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. He was buried at Kensal Green.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Letter to Jones acquired December 1966, Accession no. E67.31. Letters of 1862, purchased July 1968, Accession no. E68/23. Wine letter, purchased February 1973, Accession no. E73.8. Letter to Hall, purchased October 1973, Accession no. E73.34.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 12. Llwyd-Mason. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1909.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to Maclise related material in the Laing Collection (check the Indexes for more details): letters to W. Jerdan, J. Crofton Croker, and Hall, at La.II.648/149-151; letter to an unnamed correspondent objecting to a portion of a picture being engraved separately, at La.II.426/302. Also, letters to J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, 1863, at L.O.A.84/42, and L.O.A. 91/17. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: letters and memoranda, Trinity College, Dublin, Ref. MS 10686, see Annual return 1994; autobiographical notes, circa 1846, Royal Academy of Arts, Ref. MIS/MAC NRA 14837 Royal Academy; letters to J. N. Forster, 1834-1869, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Art Library, Ref. Forster Collection NRA 38887 Forster, and letters (16), see List of Accessions 1979; and, letters (24) to Charles Dickens and others, 1831-1867, Huntington Library, see Guide to Literary MSS 1979.