Sir Emery Walker, engraver, photographer, printer, typographer: papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 73 AAD/2017/9
  • Former Reference
      GB 73 EMW
  • Dates of Creation
      19th century - 20th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      330 files

Scope and Content

The series are arranged by room and the sub-series relate to the documents found within the furniture of a specific room. The first series contains documents from the Dining Room, together with with some oversize Drawing Room items; the second relates to the shed, where several boxes of documents had been moved; the third consists of documents found in the Drawing Room; the fourth consists of Dressing Room papers, the fifth contains documents found in the Master Bedroom and the sixth documents found in the South Bedroom on the top floor. The documents themselves reflect the lives and activities of the occupants of the house, although those relating to Emery Walker himself are not numerous. The correspondence relates mostly to Mary Grace Walker, Dorothy Walker and Elizabeth de Haas. Some of this correspondence is personal in nature and some is official. Other documents include photographs, legal papers, diaries and glass slides.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Emery Walker (1851-1933) was a founder of, or committee member of many of the key bodies that propagated the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, including the Art Workers' Guild, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. He was born in Paddington in central London in 1851 but moved to Hammersmith, to the West of London, when he was about seven. Walker had to leave school to earn money to support his family because his father lost his sight. He started off in a linen draper's, but soon went to work at the recently started Typographic Etching Company. In 1877 Emery Walker married Mary Grace Jones (1849 – 1920); they had a daughter, Dorothy Walker, or Dolly as she was affectionately called, in 1878. The family moved to No 3 Hammersmith Terrace in 1879, but they frequently stayed for periods in the country and also travelled to warmer climes, such as Morocco, for the benefit of Mary Walker's health. Because Mary was a semi-invalid who lived most of the time in the country, their daughter, Dorothy, looked after Walker and the house in London. The family had many influential friends among the literary and artistic movements of the time, such as Pre-Raphaelite painters and authors such as George Bernard Shaw. Walker's friendship with Shaw had its roots in shared political interests, but was sustained by common literary and artistic appreciation. In 1885 he founded with his friend Walter Boutall the firm of Walker and Boutall, Automatic and Photographic Engravers. In the early 1880s Emery Walker became friends with William Morris through shared socialist beliefs and interest in printing. Emery Walker gave Morris technical ideas for the last great project of Morris's life, the Kelmscott Press, for which Emery Walker acted as an unofficial advisor.

Emery Walker moved into No 7 Hammersmith Terrace, London in 1903, which he took over from the Cobden-Sandersons. He had already spent 25 years in a neighbouring house – No 3 – and many of the contents were moved along the road. Hammersmith Terrace consisted of 17 Georgian houses and became an Arts and Crafts community during the early 20th century, with residents such as May Morris (1862-1938) and the calligrapher Edward Johnston (1872-1944). The style of the decoration is today very much as it was when Walker lived there. It is typical of the homes of many of the key figures in the Arts and Crafts movement.

Emery Walker acted as an instigator of the revival of fine printing and the private press movement in the 20th century. In 1900 Walker set up his own fine-printing enterprise, the Doves Press, in partnership with the bookbinder T.J. Cobden-Sanderson, the Doves Bindery. It was named after the nearby Doves Tavern in Hammersmith and bound many of the Kelmscott Press books. Walker managed the technical side of the business, and Cobden-Sanderson chose the books and had the final say in their design. Walker, Cobden-Sanderson and Sydney Cockerell created a new typeface for the Press based on Nicolas Jenson's Roman type. The only decoration came from the calligraphers Edward Johnston and Graily Hewitt, who designed the capitals and sometimes added flourishes in ink to the printed books. From 1922 Walker took as his second home 'Daneway', a 14th to 17th-century manor-house at Sapperton, near Cirencester, in an area he had known well for twenty years. His friendships with many of the craftsmen and designers who had settled in the Cotswolds are still reflected in 7 Hammersmith Terrace. Walker was knighted in 1930, and received many honours for his services to both private press printing and the printing industry. He died in 1933 and is buried in Sapperton churchyard in the Cotswolds.

Mary Grace's main interests were cooking and needlework, and she published some poetry. She was not resident in London, spending most of her time in a cottage in the country as she was a semi-invalid. In 1912 she travelled to Morocco for a few months with their daughter Dorothy.

Dorothy Walker (1878 - 1963) was Emery and Mary Grace's Walker only child. She was an art student at the Slade Art School in London from 1899-1901 and travelled to France around 1898. Dorothy looked after 7 Hammersmith Terrace and inherited it in 1933, keeping it as in her father's time. She continued to move in the same literary and artistic circles as her father. She travelled to the USA in 1909 and to Russia in 1913 and with Elisabeth de Haas, her companion, to Morocco in 1959. She enjoyed gardening, needlework, baking and had an Arabian horse.

It is believed that (Jeanette) Elisabeth de Haas (1918 - 1999) answered an advertisement from Dorothy Walker in The Lady seeking a companion and moved in with Dorothy in 1948. De Haas came from Arnhem in the Netherlands and spoke Dutch, German, French as well as English fluently. She travelled on her own in Soviet bloc countries including Hungary and Romania. Elizabeth de Haas inherited 7 Hammersmith Terrace in 1963 and established friendships with the surviving Arts & Crafts people. De Haas was responsible for keeping 7 Hammersmith Terrace with its original Arts and Crafts style interior after Dorothy's death. The Emery Walker Trust was founded four months before Elizabeth's death in June 1999 to take over and preserve the house at her death.


The papers were stored in various rooms of No. 7 Hammersmith Terrace, and contained within various pieces of furniture. The original order in which the papers were found within the furniture was respected as much as possible during the process of boxing and cataloguing, although some items, particularly oversize materials, were displaced and transferred to larger boxes for ease of storage. The rooms in which papers were found are as follows: on the ground floor: Dining Room; on the first floor: the Drawing Room, the Master Bedroom; on the second floor: the south bedroom and dressing room.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Study Rooms 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

Given by the Emery Walker Trust, 2017. Catalogued as part of the Arts & Crafts Hammersmith project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Location of Originals

Emery Walker's library was acquired by Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum in 1990. The library was purchased by private treaty sale with the support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the MGC/V&;A Purchase Grant Fund, the British Library, the Pilgrim Trust, the John Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust and the National Art Collections Fund.

One box of letters to Emery Walker and his business associates from various persons. University of California, Los Angeles Library, Special Collections, USA.

Seven boxes and six oversize folders. Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Photographs and glass slides of Emery Walker. The National Portrait Gallery, London.