Ref No1986.4
LevelCollection
Extent41 boxes
TitlePapers of the Thornycroft Family
Date1824-1978
ArtistThomas Thornycroft (1816-1885)
BiographicalHistoryThe Thornycroft family papers document three generations of nineteenth and early twentieth-century sculptors: John Francis (1780-1861), a portrait sculptor who exhibited extensively at the Royal Academy; his daughter, Mary (1809-1895), who was taught by her father and produced many commissions for Queen Victoria; her husband, Thomas Thornycroft (1815-1885), one of her father's pupils, who specialised in public commemorative sculpture and completed many statues of Prince Albert; and their youngest son, Sir William Hamo Thornycroft (1850-1925) whose papers form the main part of the archive.
DescriptionThe papers relating to Thomas and Mary Thornycroft consist of over 200 letters, [collection reference: 1986.4 (TT) and (MT), 2 boxes]. Many of the letters (that include notes on the work of Thomas Thornycroft) are from W.B. Dickenson, a surgeon from Macclesfield, who was Thomas's main patron. There are eight drawings by various members of the family, thirteen legal and financial papers and other documents including Thomas Thornycroft's apprenticeship indenture. There is also a daguerreotype of John Francis with his ideal sculpture 'II Penseroso' and a contemporary print of this image.

The papers of Hamo Thornycroft are important for their extensive scope and the fact that they document the everyday activities of one of the foremost practitioners of the New Sculpture movement, [collection references: 1982.44 (Th) and 1987.14.24 (TII), 39 boxes]. They provide detailed documentation of all his major works including 'The Mower', 1884, the architectural sculptures for The Institute of Chartered Accountants, London, 1889-1903, 'King Alfred', Winchester, 1901, and others. They include an important collection of correspondence of over 3000 items which record commissions and his place in the art world centred around the 'Leighton circle' in Holland Park, London. Among them are letters from Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, Henry Hugh Armstead, Sir George Frampton, Sir Alfred Gilbert, Sir Edmund Gosse, Lord Frederick Leighton, G. F. Watts and Alfred Waterhouse. Hamo Thornycroft's everyday activities can be charted through his thirty-six engagement diaries, 1886-1925, and his more detailed commentaries and thoughts in his fourteen journals and one notebook, 1862-1925. There are thirty-two sketchbooks, 1861-1921, and over 300 drawings which range from preliminary sketches and life drawings to presentation drawings and architectural plans for his work. In some of the sketchbooks he also keeps his accounts of wages paid to models and studio assistants. There are over 300 photographs of his work, his studio and personal photographs of the family. There are thirteen speeches and lectures and twenty-eight poems and prayers. The papers also contain his accounts, legal and financial documents, and over 400 items of printed ephemera including press cuttings and articles about the Thornycrofts, as well as other miscellaneous material.
ArrangementThe Papers are card indexed and classified as follows, [please contact the HMI Archivist for further details]:

Hamo Thornycroft papers, 1982.44 (Th) and 1987.14.24 (TII)

A Accounts
C Correspondence (arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent, then by date)
D Engagement diaries (reference followed by folio number on index cards)
D Loose drawings (without folio number) . Subdivided as follows:

D (followed immediately by a number + drawing for an identified sculpture by Hamo Thornycroft. The number refers to the catalogue in "Marble and Bronze" by Elfrida Manning
DC Church Monuments unidentified
DL Life Studies
DM War Memorials unidentified
D Misc. Miscellaneous
DP Drawings not by Hamo Thornycroft
DS Drawings of works of art by other people
DT Drawings not for sculpture (except those in DS)
DU Unidentified drawings

E Printed ephemera. Subdivided as follows:

E followed immediately by number - miscellaneous
E (M) Magazine and book material
E (N) Newspaper material

J Journals (J(a): photocopy of journal. References on index cards refer to photocopy NOT the original)
L Legal documents
LLJ Loose leaf journals
M Maps and plans
N Notebook
P Photographs. Subdivided as follows:

P followed immediately by number = photograph of an identified sculpture by Hamo Thornycroft. The number refers to the catalogue in "Marble and Bronze" by Elfrida Manning.
PE Photograph of sculpture or design project by Hamo Thornycroft which is not given in "Marble and Bronze" catalogue
PP Portrait photographs
PS Sculpture not by Hamo Thornycroft
PT Topographical

Q Poems and prayers
S Sketchbooks, SD = Studio diary
X Notes and memoranda
Y Speeches and lectures
Z Lists

Thomas and Mary Thornycroft papers, 1986.4 (TT) and (MT)

C Coprrespondence (arranged as in Hamo Thornycroft papers), C1/1 + C1, 1st sheet, C1(a) = letter inserted between C1 and C2
E Ephemera
EM Magazine materials
F Financial
J Journal ('Waterlily' log book) - transferred to Hamo Thornycroft papers (reference J(6))
L Legal
M Miscellaneous
P Photographs
Z List

Except where otherwise stated items within a category are numbered in chronological order

[N.B. In 1987 letters removed from classification for correspondence so that eg. 167A becomes 167/1; 167 B becomes 167/2; 167/BA becomes 167/3 etc)
AccessConditionsAccessible to all registered researchers. The Archive is open by appointment only.
Related MaterialThe Leeds' Sculpture Collection includes many works by William Hamo Thornycroft
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