WEBB, Philip Speakman (1831-1915)

Scope and Content

Papers of Philip Webb, 1882-1907, comprising correspondence concerning building restorations in Italy and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), 1882; correspondence with Giacomo Boni, 1885-1907, (some of Webb's letters to Boni are photocopies), notably concerning Boni's excavations in Venice, including the Piazza di San Marco, restorations to the Ducal Palace, work on the Forum, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), sanitation and drainage in Venice, the abbey of Casamari, Orvieto, Bari, personal details, such as their health, Boni's marriage and travels, particularly around Italy and his visits to England, discussions of contemporaries, notably William Morris, Italian architecture, monuments, pictures, buildings, artists, sculptors, archaeology, Boni's lectures; letters from George Wardle, [1887]-1906, notably concerning architecture and reports on buildings for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) including Ipswich, Orford Church, Dorchester, Oxfordshire, Sandwich, Chichester, Bosham, Sussex, proofs for publication, papers on Pisano, Parengo, work on the 'Holy Graal', personal details, such as health, lodgings and travels; reports on the restoration of Bosham Church, Sussex, 1899, Dorchester Church, Oxfordshire, 1899, Grey Friars Chapel, Chichester.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Oxford, 1831; educated at private school, Aynho, Northamptonshire; apprentice to the architect John Billing, Reading, 1849-1852; joined architect's office, Wolverhampton, 1852; assistant to the architect George Edmund Street, Oxford, [1852-1858]; became a close friend of William Morris, also an assistant to Street, Edward Burne-Jones and Charles Faulkner, 1856; moved to London with Street's office, 1856; established independent practice at Great Ormond Street, [1858]; with Morris designed the Red House, Bexley Heath, Kent; founder member of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co, 1861 (later Morris and Co); specialised in the design of animals, metal work and furniture; work included St Martin's Church, Scarborough, the Victoria and Albert Museum, house at Arisaig, Inverness; with Morris and Faulkner founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), 1877; wintered in Italy, 1884-1885, involved with the restoration and excavation of buildings in Italy, became a close friend of Giacomo Boni; retired to Worth, Sussex, 1901; died, 1915.
George Wardle was a member of the Committee of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
Commendatore Giacomo Boni (1859-1925) was an Italian architect and archaeologist. He was Director of the excavations in the Roman Forum and on the Palatine, Member of the Superior Council of Antiquities and Fine Arts, Minister of Public Instruction and Royal Commissioner for the Monuments of Rome.


The letters are arranged chronologically according to correspondent.

Access Information

Initial applications should be made to the Deputy Librarian, Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R ORN. At least one week's notice is generally required for access to archival material.

Acquisition Information

Letters from George Wardle were presented to the Courtauld in 1934 by Sir Sidney Cockerell, on behalf of the executors of Sir Emery Walker.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available in the Courtauld Institute Library.

Archivist's Note

Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); Philip Webb and his Work William Richard Lethaby (Oxford University Press, London, 1935); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97; National Register of Archives. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Separated Material

Webb's papers relating to Brampton Church and other Howard properties, 1874-1904, held at Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections, Palace Green Section (ref: II 19-20); specification and correspondence relating to Village Room, Arisaig, Inverness, 1891-1892, held at the Royal Institute of British Architects Library; letters to J S Beale, 1896-1898, held at West Sussex Record Office (ref: Standen MSS 168-178); letters to George Price Boyce, 1865-1895 (ref: Add MS 45354), correspondence with Sir Sydney Cockerell, 1895-1914 (ref: Add MSS 52760-67), letters to Elizabeth Weston Wickham Flower, 1899-1911(ref: Add MS 45355), letters to William and Jane Morris and family, 1868-1912 (ref: Add MSS 45342-3, 45346-7), held at the British Library, Manuscript Collections; letters to 9th Earl of Carlisle, 1867-1895, held at Castle Howard; correspondence with Sir Sydney Cockerell, 1891-1915 (ref: Catalogue of English MSS 1975, no 730), correspondence, mainly with William Morris, 1884-1896 (ref: Catalogue of English MSS 1975, nos 731-2), letters from Warrington Taylor of Morris & Co, 1866-1869 (ref: Catalogue of English MSS 1975, no 681), held at the Victoria & Albert Museum, National Art Library; letters to Charles Fairfax Murray, 1871-1900, held at Cambridge University, Fitzwilliam Museum; correspondence with William Hale White, 1888-1912, held at Bedford Central Library.

Conditions Governing Use

Material may be photocopied subject to the approval of the Librarian or Archivist, and provided it does not breach the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1988.


Philip Webb and his Work William Richard Lethaby (Oxford University Press, London, 1935); Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings "A chapter of its early history" [By G Y Wardle] (London, 1899); Recent Excavations in the Roman Forum, 1898-1904 E Burton Browne, with preface by Comm Boni (John Murray, London, 1904).