Catalogue of the papers of Henry Wallis, 1846-1952

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

C. Parker


Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts
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Table of Contents

A    Papers of Henry Wallis, 1846-1952
    A.1  Letters to Henry Wallis, 1856-1915
    A.2  Miscellaneous papers of Henry Wallis, 1846-1952
B    Papers of Harold Wallis, 1885-1918

Papers of Henry Wallis and his son, Harold Wallis, 1846-1952

Letters to Henry Wallis (1830-1916), painter, 1856-1915, letters to his son, Harold Wallis, 1884-1918 and miscellaneous papers of both, 1846-1952.

Shelfmarks: MSS. Eng. c. 7039-41, c. 7049-51, Eng. e. 3394-6, e. 3401

Extent: 10 shelfmarks

Biographical History

Henry Wallis (1830-1916) was an artist, ceramics expert and collector. He achieved acclaim as a painter with the exhibition of his portrait 'The Death of Chatterton' at the Royal Academy in 1856, and followed up his success with 'The Stonebreaker', which was exhibited in 1858. Although he continued to paint and exhibit, he became increasingly interested in archaeology and ceramics. He travelled extensively and became an authority on Persian, Egyptian, Greek and Byzantine ceramics. He wrote and illustrated twenty volumes on ceramics during the period 1885-1899. He never married but he did have a son, Harold ('Felix'), with his lover Mary Meredith. For further details see Dictionary of National Biography and Timothy Wilson's article, 'A Victorian artist as ceramic collector: the letters of Henry Wallis', parts 1-2, Journal of the History of Collections, 14, no.1 (2002) pp.139-159 and no.2 (2002) pp.231-269.

Scope and Content

The collection contains letters to Henry Wallis from artists, art collectors and museum curators, relating to the art world in England and the collection of fine ceramics, and a large series of letters from Henry Wallis to his son, Harold, written mostly from abroad, containing descriptions of his travels and archaeological finds.


The papers are arranged in two series: (A) papers of Henry Wallis, and (B) papers of his son, Harold 'Felix' Wallis.

Separated Material

One photograph (fol. 29) of Henry Wallis and nine photographs of unidentified people, are MS. Photogr. c. 150, fols. 29-38.

Related Material

See catalogue of the sketch-books of Henry Wallis, 1869-1910.


Bought Bonhams, 13 Mar. 2002, lot 975.

Preferred Form of Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Library [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 7039, fols. 1-2].

Personal names (NCA Rules)

Wallis | Harold | 1858-1933 | son of Henry Wallis and Mary Meredith | known as Felix
Wallis | Henry | 1830-1916 | painter

Subjects (LCSH)

Art, Victorian -- England
Majolica, Italian
Pottery, Egyptian
Pottery, Islamic
Pottery, Persian

A   Papers of Henry Wallis, 1846-1952

A.1   Letters to Henry Wallis, 1856-1915

Shelfmarks: MSS. Eng. c. 7039-41

Arrangement:The letters to Henry Wallis have been arranged alphabetically by correspondent, without reference to subject. There are two alphabetical sequences of letters. The first sequence contains letters which are fasciculed and the second sequence contains loose letters.

Letters to Henry Wallis from various correspondents, 1856-1912
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7039

Extent: 119 leaves

Scope and Content:

Comprises letters from:

  • (fols. 1-7) John Forster, 1856-8, n.d.
  • (fols. 8-13) Edmund Gosse, 1883-4
  • (fols. 14-71) William Holman Hunt, 1857-1898, and two letters (fols. 72-4) from his wife, written on his behalf, 1910
  • (fols. 75-82) Edward Burne-Jones, and a letter (fol. 83) from his wife, written on his behalf, 1878, n.d.
  • (fol. 84) Frederic Leighton, n.d.
  • (fols. 85-90) Mary Meredith, c.1856-1858
  • (fols. 91-102) William Morris, 1867-1882, n.d.
  • (fols. 103-4) notes by Thomas Love Peacock, on Voltaire, c.1857
  • (fol. 105) William Blake Richmond, n.d.
  • (fols. 106-112) Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874, and (fols. 113-14) a letter to A.G. Ellis, n.d.
  • (fols. 115-16) William Michael Rossetti, being a letter of introduction for Henry Wallis, 1870
  • (fol. 117) Laurence Alma Tadema, daughter of Lawrence Alma Tadema, written on his behalf, 1882
  • (fols. 118-19) Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1884-1912

Letters to Henry Wallis from various correspondents, A-H, in English, French and Italian, 1856-1915
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7040

Extent: 281 leaves

Scope and Content:

The letters are from friends, fellow artists, ceramic collectors and museums. They include letters from

  • (fols 1-2) John Aird, 1882
  • (fols. 3-4) Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, written by his secretary, G.F. Bambridge, 1889
  • (fols. 5-6) William Allingham, 1881
  • (fols. 22-9) Giacomo Boni, with (fols. 22-4) pen-and-ink sketches of architectural detail, 1889
  • (fols. 38-62) curators at the British Museum, including
    • (fols. 38-46) Augustus Wollaston Franks, 1888-95
    • (fols. 47-8, 50-62) Charles Hercules Read, 1907-14
    • (fol. 49) Ormonde Maddock Dalton, 1908
  • (fols. 65-70) Carl Brun, 1876-82
  • (fols. 71-2) George Earle Buckle, 1884
  • (fols. 73-111) Frederic William Burton, with (fol. 73) pen-and-ink sketch of himself in the stocks, 1874-1886
  • (fols. 112-20) Thomas Chenery, 1881-2
  • (fol. 121) John Duke Coleridge, 1882
  • (fols. 124-9) Eyre Crowe, 1882-8
  • (fols. 130-1) Eyre Alexander Crowe, 1914
  • (fols. 132-59) Joseph Archer Crowe, 1883-4
  • (fols. 180-5) Marcel Auguste Dieulafoy, 1886
  • (fols. 200-1) Augustus Egg, 1858
  • (fols. 202-4) Adolphe Erman, 1888-93
  • (fols. 205-14) Charles Drury Edward Fortnum, 1892-6
  • (fols. 215-17) Birket Foster, 1882
  • (fols. 219-20) Johann Adolf Furtwängler, 1888
  • (fols. 221-230) John Gilbert, 1880-93
  • (fols. 238-9) notice of Japanese pottery offered by Émile Étienne Guimet to the French state, n.d.
  • (fols. 243-4) Justus Brinckmann at Hamburg Museum, 1909
  • (fols. 253-63) Arthur Hughes, 1910-15
  • (fols. 268-73) Alfred William Hunt, 1886
  • (fols. 274-9) Henri Hymans, 1896-1901

Letters to Henry Wallis from various correspondents, J-Z, in English, French, German and Italian, 1866-1915
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7041

Extent: 310 leaves

Scope and Content:

The letters are from friends, fellow artists, ceramic collectors and museum curators. They include letters from

  • (fols. 5-11) Charles Samuel Keene, 1890
  • (fols. 13-39) Köenigliche Museum, Berlin, 1884-1914, mainly from (fols. 13-16, 19-22 and 25-39) Wilhelm von Bode, relating to ceramics, with (fols. 19v, 30r, 36r, 37) pen-and-ink sketches of pottery, and (fols. 23-4) a letter from his daughter, Marie Bode, containing a pen-and-ink sketch of the Harz mountains in Germany
  • (fols. 40-1) John Linnell, 1866
  • (fols. 43-5) Friedrich Lippmann, 1883
  • (fols. 50-71) the Louvre, 1883-1898, including (fols. 59-71) letter on an article written by Jean Paul Richter, c.1884
  • (fols. 72-3) John Lubbock, c.1884
  • (fols. 79-82) Henry Stacey Marks, 1882
  • (fols. 83-4) Robert Braithwaite Martineau, n.d.
  • (fols. 85-90) Gaston C.C. Maspero, 1894-5
  • (fols. 95-103) Adolph Menzel, 1881-2
  • (fols. 121-9) William Flinders Petrie, 1890-1908
  • (fols. 148-53) Edward John Poynter, 1884-90
  • (fols. 154-5) Prime Minister's Office, 1884
  • (fols. 174-5) John Charles Robinson, 1884
  • (fols. 201-12) William Bell Scott, including (fol. 204r) a pen-and-ink sketch of his castle in Scotland, 1885-9
  • (fols. 213-16) SèvresMuseum of Ceramics, including letters from
    • (fols. 213-14) Jules Champfleury, 1887
    • (fols. 215-16) Edouard Garnier, 1897
  • (fols. 224-30) William Luson Thomas, 1881-6
  • (fols. 235-8) Queen Victoria, initialled approval for Wallis to dedicate a book to her, 1893
  • (fols. 239-61) Victoria and Albert Museum, 1908-11, including letters from (fols. 251-2, 256-9) Bernard Rackham, 1909-10
  • (fols. 262-3) Richard Wallace, 1884
  • (fol. 264) Lord Wharncliffe, 1880
  • (fols. 266-307) Charles Yriarte, 1879-96
  • (fols. 310-38) unidentified correspondents, arranged chronologically, 1868-1910

A.2   Miscellaneous papers of Henry Wallis, 1846-1952

Shelfmarks: MSS. Eng. c. 7051, e. 3394-6, e. 3401

Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.

Goldsmith. An Almanack (London, 1846), with sketches on fols. 1v, 4, 14, 24v, 52-3 and notes on fols. 19, 21, 24
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. e. 3394

Extent: 53 leaves
Binding: Maroon leather with leather clasp

Passport for Henry Wallis and his son, issued 15 Dec. 1860 and stamped at Boulogne, 17 Dec. 1860
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. e. 3395

Extent: 1 leaf
Binding: Black morocco, stamp inside front cover 'Edward Stanford Manufacturer 6 Charing Cross'

Wallet containing visiting cards and business cards, many with pencilled additions by Henry Wallis, late 19th cent.
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. e. 3396

Extent: 48 leaves
Binding: Cream cloth-covered wallet

Notes, letters and miscellaneous papers, 1858-1952
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7051/1-3

Extent: 89 leaves, ii + 82 pages and (item 3) 32 pages

Scope and Content:


  • (item 1)
    • (fols. 2-9) letter from A.G. Ellis to Hercules Read, both of the British Museum, 1908
    • (fols. 10-11) certificate of membership of the International Committee of Patrons for the Museum of Faenza, 1910
    • (fols. 13-14) Thomas Love Peacock on the Portraits of Shelley (London, 1911)
    • (fols. 17-24) letter from R.A. McLelen to Mr Stephens, 1912
    • (fols. 25-6) letter from Wallis to W.A. Chalmers, c.1915
    • (fols. 27-30) Henry Wallis 1830-1916, by Albert Van de Put, offprint of Wallis's obituary from Faenza (fasc. 2, 1917)
    • (fols. 39-42) programme for 'Nightmare Abbey' by Thomas Love Peacock, performed by the London Mask Theatre at Westminster Theatre, 27 Feb. 1952
    • (fols. 43-78) notes on paintings and artefacts and from works on Italian art and ceramics, n.d.
  • (item 2)
    • John Ruskin, Notes on some of the principal pictures exhibited in the rooms of the Royal Academy, the old and new Societies of Painters in Water Colours, the Society of British Artists, and the French Exhibition, no. IV-1858 (London, 1858)
  • (item 3)
    • South Kensington Museum, Gold and Silver Work - The Industrial Arts, I (London, c.1880)
Separated Material: A photograph of Professor Menzel and a photograph of an unidentified man and woman, removed from MS. Eng. c. 7051/1, are MS. Photogr. c. 150, fols. 39-40.

Notebook containing instructions for lace and crochet work, inscribed on fol. 1 'Miss Abbott', 19th cent.
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. e. 3401

Extent: 12 leaves
Binding: Quarter dark-blue leather, marbled paper boards

B   Papers of Harold Wallis, 1885-1918

Shelfmarks: MS. Eng. c. 7049-50

Arrangement:Arranged chronologically.

Letters from his father, Henry Wallis, 1885-95
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7049

Extent: 145 leaves

Scope and Content:

These letters are addressed to 'Felix', which was Henry's name for his son. They are written mostly from various places abroad, including Cairo, Luxor, Alexandria, Assouan, Athens, Sicily, Naples, Trieste, Paris and Marseilles. They contain descriptions of the places he visited and items he collected. They also contain instructions relating to his house and business interests in England.

Letters from his father, Henry Wallis and others, and miscellaneous papers, 1895-1918, n.d.
Shelfmark: MS. Eng. c. 7050

Extent: 194 leaves

Scope and Content:


  • (fols. 1-143) letters from Henry Wallis, addressed to 'Felix', written mostly from abroad up to 1908, and then from various addresses in England, 1895-1916
  • (fols. 144-78) undated letters from Henry Wallis addressed to 'Felix', from Claverton in Surrey, where he lived from 1911 to 1915, and from Walpole Road, Croydon, where he lived in 1916
  • (fols. 179-81) envelopes addressed to Harold Wallis from Henry Wallis, without contents, 1914-16
  • (fols. 184-5) letter from Peter Austin Daniel, concerning the papers of Holman (Holly) Stephens, son of Frederic George Stephens, 1915
  • (fol. 186) letter from Highgate Cemetery, regarding the grave of Andrew Wallis, Henry's stepfather, 1917
  • (fols. 187-8) letter from Lord Carnarvon, regarding the valuation of scarabs and containing a list of 'missing' items, 1917
  • (fol. 189) letter from the Victoria and Albert Museum, regarding the proposed purchase of part of Henry Wallis' ceramic collection, 1918
  • (fols. 190-1) identity card, 1915
  • (fol. 192) sugar registration card, c.1917
  • (fols. 193-4) letter of confirmation for Harold Wallis's matriculation in 1875, from the University of London, 1916

Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
26 February 2016