Lady Emilia Dilke's Photographs

Scope and Content

This is a collection of photographs amassed by Lady Francis Dilke relating largely to 18th century interior and exterior design. The photographs in this collection relate largely to French interior design and architecture, with images from locations such as Paris and Versailles, but also include images from other areas such as Potsdam and Stockholm.

Administrative / Biographical History

Lady Dilke (1840-1904), born Emilia Francis Strong, was an author, art historian and trade unionist. As a child she was encouraged to take up cultural pursuits as her father was active in Oxford art circles which saw the family come into contact with important figures in the Victorian art world including John Ruskin and William Holman Hunt.

She moved to London in 1858 and studied for two years at the Government School of Design at South Kensington. She was especially interested in anatomical drawing but was refused access to life drawing classes because she was a woman - instead she took private classes. On completing her studies she returned to Oxford where she married in 1861 her first husband Mark Pattison (1813-1884). Following her marriage she undertook serious scholarship in the fields of French cultural history and art. The marriage was an unhappy one and she spent increasing amounts of time in France where she was able to concentrate on her research interests.

From the mid-1860s she wrote articles and reviews on art for the periodical press and between 1873 and 1883 she was the art editor of The Academy . In 1879 her first book was published The Renaissance of Art in France which was well researched. Further important studies of French art followed, the Wallace Collection has all four of her books on French art and architecture.

Lady Dilke was also asked to write the preface of the first Wallace Collection Catalogue in 1897, and she wrote the introduction to the following: Molinier, Émile, The Wallace Collection (objets d'art) at Hertford House , London: Goupil & Co.; Paris: Manzi , Joyant & Co., 1903.

In the later years of her life she became involved in the Women's Trade Union League, becoming its president in 1886. Following the death of Pattison she married again, her second husband being the radical Liberal politician Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke (1843-1911).


The collection has been arranged as follows into the following series and sub-series:

DILKE/I - Interiors
DILKE/I/1 - Arabesques and Singeries
DILKE/I/2 - Boiseries & Painted Panels – Various Locations
DILKE/I/3 - Boiseries – Palais de l'Élysée & Chateau de Beroy
DILKE/I/4 - Bronzes D'Ameublement
DILKE/I/5 - Details & Interiors – Various Locations
DILKE/I/6 - Details & Interiors - Petit Trianon & Grand Trianon
DILKE/I/7 - Details & Interiors – Versailles
DILKE/I/8 - Furniture
DILKE/I/9 - Tapestries, Screens, and Upholstery

DILKE/E - Exteriors
DILKE/E/1 - Exeriors – École Militaire
DILKE/E/2 - Exteriors - Paris
DILKE/E/3 - Exteriors - Various Locations

Access Information

The material can be accessed by appointment in the Visitors' Library in the Wallace Collection. The Visitors' Library is open Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm. Please contact the Library for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Readers are permitted to use cameras on the purchase of a reprographics permit. The charges are £2 for a daily or £5 for a weekly permit.

Custodial History

This collection was received from Mr. Strong, nephew to Lady Dilke, in 1913.

Related Material

In the Wallace Collection:
• The Wallace Collection has all four of her books on French art and architecture. Two of these were given to the library by her family in 1913: 'French painters of the XVIIIth century ', London : G. Bell and Sons, 1899 ' French engravers and draughtsman of the XVIIIth century ', London : G. Bell and Sons, 1902.
Elsewhere :
• The British Library holds a series of papers and correspondence by Lady Emilia Dilke and her husband Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke.

• London Metropolitan University: Trades Union Congress Library Collections holds a notebook written by Lady Dilke.

• The Parliamentary Archives hold correspondence of Lady Dilke with Herbert Samuel.