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Archive of Henry Wallis and his son, Harold Wallis


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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.


  • Creation: 1846-1952


1.5 Linear metres (10 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

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

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. c. 7039-7041, c. 7049-7051, Eng. e. 3394-3396, e. 3401; Photogr. c. 150, fols. 29-40

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 13140


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

Biographical / Historical

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.


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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bought Bonhams, 13 Mar. 2002, lot 975.

Related Materials

Sketch-books of Henry Wallis, 1869-1910, are MSS. Eng. d. 3552-3558, e. 3414-3427.

Separated Materials

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

Catalogue of the archive of Henry Wallis, 1846-1952
Finding aid prepared by C. Parker
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom