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Archive of Sir John Gardner Wilkinson

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The archive comprises:
  1. Sketchbooks, 1815-c.1875, n.d.
  2. Foreign travel papers, 1818-c.1878, n.d.
  3. Papers relating to academic and literary projects, c.1821-1921, n.d.
  4. General academic and antiquarian papers, 9th cent.(?)-1878, n.d.
  5. Personal papers, c.1816-1876, n.d.
  6. Papers of Lady Wilkinson and others, 1850-1890, n.d.
Printed material is described with related manuscript material throughout the catalogue. Short titles and dates of publication only are given for Wilkinson's own works; full details are given in the bibliography of Wilkinson's publications.

Placenames in the catalogue are given in the form which Wilkinson used. The modern form, if it differs, is given in square brackets. Placenames in Egypt are given as they appear in Baines and Mlek, Atlas of Ancient Egypt (Oxford, 1980); placenames in the British Isles are given as they appear in Bartholemew's Gazetteer, and placenames elsewhere are given as they appear in the Times Atlas. Placenames which do not appear in these works are given as they appear in the country gazetteers produced by the United States Board on Geographic Names Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Washington, D.C., 1959, and others in the same series). Personal names in the catalogue are also given in the form which Wilkinson used; where this differs markedly from the standard form, that standard form is given in square brackets.

The index includes names of British and foreign Egyptologists, as well as other significant personal, family and corporate names; names of places which can be easily identified; document genres such as poetry, accounts, and diaries, and document formats such as maps; and significant subjects covered by the papers. Readers should note that a much fuller geographical index to material relating to particular Egyptian sites is provided by the Topographical Bibliography. Those who require very specific Egyptological references should make use of this work, and convert the Griffith Institute references there given for Wilkinson manuscripts to Bodleian shelfmarks and folio or page references using the concordances mentioned above.

Dates

  • 9th cent.-1921, n.d.

Extent

37.73 linear metres (343 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

English, Welsh, Latin, Greek, Ancient Egyptian, Maltese, Arabic, Spanish, Coptic, French, Persian, Syriac

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark, e.g. MS. Wilkinson. dep. d. 1, fols. 1-2].
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Wilkinson dep. a. 1-35, b. 1-16, c. 1-32, d. 1-163, e. 1-95

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 11826

Overview

Papers of Sir John Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875), Egyptologist, [9th cent.]-1921

Biographical / Historical

John Gardner Wilkinson was born in 1797, the son of John Wilkinson, a clergyman, of Hardendale in Westmorland, and Mary Anne Wilkinson (née Gardner). Through his mother he was related to the Crewe family of Calke Abbey in south Derbyshire; Georgiana Crewe (née Lovell, c.1824-1910), wife of the ninth baronet Sir John Harpur Crewe (1824-86), was his second cousin.

Wilkinson's mother and father had died by the time he was ten years old. He was entrusted to a guardian, and was educated at Harrow and at Exeter College, Oxford. His love of travel began with visits to the Continent in 1817 and 1818. In 1819 he set off on a 'Grand Tour' through France, Germany, and Italy, where he met the antiquarian and student of Egyptian hieroglyphics, Sir William Gell. Gell encouraged Wilkinson to engage in Egyptological study under his guidance; and in October 1821 Wilkinson left Italy for Alexandria.

Wilkinson remained in Egypt until 1833. He travelled extensively in that country, learnt Coptic and Arabic, continued his study of hieroglyphics, and surveyed and recorded the remains of ancient Egyptian society, notably the tombs at the site of Thebes. He began to publish his research, and continued to do so after his return to England. Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, his most extensive work, was first published by John Murray in two series in 1837 and 1841; a second edition appeared in 1847. This work enhanced Wilkinson's reputation as an Egyptologist, which resulted in his knighthood in 1839, and in membership of many learned societies.

He revisited Egypt four times: in 1841-2, 1843-4, 1848, and 1855-6. Partly because of these visits, as well as through undoubted inclination, he also travelled widely in Western Europe and the Mediterranean, and in the early 1840s toured Dalmatia and Montenegro, part of Asia Minor, the Levant and North Africa. (John Murray published Wilkinson's account of his travels in the Balkans as Dalmatia and Montenegro in 1848.)

In 1856 Wilkinson married Caroline Catherine Lucas (1822-81), a keen botanist and antiquarian, the companion of Augusta, Lady Llanover. The couple lived first at Tenby in Pembrokeshire, on the South Wales coast. In 1866 they moved to Brynfield House, at Reynoldston on the Gower peninsula. Brynfield and the surrounding area provided Wilkinson with ample opportunity to indulge his interest in ancient British remains; he had already published several articles on British archaeology and antiquities.

Wilkinson's Egyptological work contributed to the foundation of that discipline in Britain, but his research and publications ranged beyond Egypt into architecture, aesthetics, international relations and the classics, as well as travel and the study of ancient Britain. Moreover, in his detailed water-colours and drawings, as in his extensive notes and 'journals', he recorded his impressions of the architecture, costume and contemporary society of all the countries he visited.

Arrangement

Wilkinson was a man of such varied interests that his papers do not easily fall into archival arrangement, except for the sequence of sketchbooks. These are described first in the catalogue and form a discrete series of material. They are followed by five further, composite, series: Papers relating primarily to foreign travel and residence in Egypt; Papers relating to specific published and unpublished academic and literary projects; Papers relating to academic and antiquarian research in general; Personal papers; and Papers of others - of Lady Wilkinson, and of Wilkinson's cousins Sir John and Lady Georgiana Crewe and Matilda Lovell (Lady Crewe's sister).

Each series is arranged chronologically, apart from general academic and antiquarian papers and papers of Lady Wilkinson and others, which fall into subseries, each arranged chronologically. Any references or file titles given to individual items by Wilkinson or Lady Wilkinson appear at the end of the description of the relevant item (before the current shelfmark), followed by the letter W in brackets, as Thompson's biography makes use of the Wilkinsons' references. Because of the miscellaneous nature of some of the papers, especially those which were bound for Wilkinson, occasionally material may not be in the series in which one might expect to find it. Readers should particularly note that drafts and originals for illustrations by Wilkinson, although mostly in papers relating to academic and literary projects, may also be found in foreign travel papers and general academic and antiquarian papers.

Custodial History

On his death in 1875 Wilkinson's library and papers were bequeathed to Sir John Crewe and his family, and were sent to Calke Abbey. It was known that his publications represented only a small proportion of his work, and interest in his papers continued. In 1925 many of the manuscripts relating to Wilkinson's Egyptological research were lent to Francis Llewellyn Griffith, professor of Egyptology at Oxford; after Griffith's death in 1934, these items passed with his library to the Griffith Institute in Oxford. They were used by Bertha Porter and Rosalind Moss in the preparation of their Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings (Oxford, 1927-51; revised and reissued, 1960-95), and were given reference numbers used in that work.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

In 1984 the National Trust became the owner of Calke Abbey and its contents, including all Wilkinson's manuscripts, which were soon afterwards placed on deposit at the Bodleian and which this catalogue describes. (Wilkinson's library remains at Calke.) They were used by Professor Jason Thompson in his biography of Wilkinson: Sir Gardner Wilkinson and his Circle (Austin, Texas, 1992).

Like the rest of the collection, the papers transferred from the Griffith Institute have been given Bodleian shelfmarks. Griffith Institute references are given at the end of the description of each item, followed by the letters GIA in brackets.

Related Materials

See also the papers of Noel, Byron and Lovelace Families. Letters of 1842-50 to the Earl and Countess of Lovelace are at Dep. Lovelace Byron 175 (fols. 12-90)

An undated letter, c.1835, is at MS. Phillipps-Robinson c. 626 (fol. 247)

A letter of 1850 (referring to Wilkinson's time at Harrow School) is held at MS. Autogr. d. 43 (fol. 47)

Various manuscripts by or concerning Wilkinson are held elsewhere:
  1. Two remain at the Griffith Institute: a journal for the period 1841-2 (cf. MS. Wilkinson dep. e. 41, catalogued here) and nine miscellaneous letters, c.1841-1870 (Wilkinson MSS. 1-2).
  2. Among the British Library's manuscript collections are 10 letters to Charles Babbage, 1825-66 (Add. MSS. 37183-201 passim), letters to Robert Hay, c.1826-62 (Add. MS. 38094), letters to Wilkinson from Reginald Stuart Poole, 1851-7 (Add. MS. 50952), and correspondence with Francesco Carrara, 1845-9 (Add. MS. 38650).
  3. At the time of writing, the National Register of Archives (NRA) also lists 14 letters to the Johnes family held at the National Library of Wales (NRA 28612 Johnes), and letters to Thomas Joseph Pettigrew held at the Beinecke Library, Yale University (NRA 18661 Osborn coll.).
  4. Seventy-two boxes of Wilkinson's Egyptological squeezes are held by the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum; a list of these is available at the Griffith Institute.
  5. Papers of or concerning Wilkinson held at Harrow School include two letters to successive Head Masters written in 1856 and 1865, and an unfinished map of Cairo, in the school archives; a two-volume catalogue of his collection of antiquities, 1864, in the Old Speech Room Gallery (1864.900, 1864.901: cf. MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 149, catalogued here); and water-colours of Islamic buildings, in the Vaughan Library.
  6. A volume of about 140 leaves of drawings by Wilkinson is in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, shelfmark Vh 176 res. Fol.

Bibliography

  • Materia Hieroglyphica: containing the Egyptian Pantheon, and the Succession of the Pharaohs Malta: Government Press , 1828 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 68, fols. 21-120; b. 7)
  • Map of the Feioom [London]: A. Arrowsmith , [c.1829] (MSS. Wilkinson dep. a. 15, fols. 35-41; a. 22, fols. 257-66)
  • Extracts from Several Hieroglyphical Subjects, found at Thebes, and Other Parts of Egypt Malta: Government Press , 1830 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 68, fols. 1-20; d. 69)
  • Topographical Survey of Thebes, Tp, Thaba or Diospolis Magna (map) [London], 1830 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. c. 14; d. 70)
  • 'Notes on a Part of the Eastern Desert of Upper Egypt' in Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 2 (1832), 28-60
  • 'On the Contrivances by Means of Which the Statue of Memnon at Thebes was Made Vocal' in Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, 2 (1834), 451-6
  • Topography of Thebes, and General View of Egypt London: John Murray , 1835 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 73)
  • 'On Lord Prudhoe's Two Granite Lions, presented by him to the British Museum' in Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, 2nd ser., 1 (1843), 52-3
  • Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians (6 vols.) London: John Murray , 1837 , 1841 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 75-7; d. 79-81)
  • 'On the Nile and the Present and Former Levels of Egypt' in Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 9 (1839), 431-41 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 78, fols. 1-7)
  • 'On the origin of the vertical line in architecture, and the return to the horizontal line in Italian buildings' [unpublished: read at the Royal Institute of British Architects, 16 March 1840] (MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 113, fols. 38-42)
  • Three Letters on the Policy of England towards the Porte and Mohammed Ali London: John Murray , 1840
  • Modern Egypt and Thebes (2 vols.) London: John Murray, 1843 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 82-3)
  • 'Some Account of the Natron Lakes of Egypt: in a Letter to W.R. Hamilton, Esq.' in Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 13 (1843), 113-18
  • T.J. Pettigrew, 'Account of a Bilingual Inscription taken from a Vase at St. Mark at Venice' in Archaeologia, 31 (1844), 275-8 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 105, fols. 2-3)
  • 'Inscription illustrating the Legends of the Coins of Vaballathus' in Numismatic Chronicle, 9 (1847), 128-9 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 78, fol. 29)
  • Colonel W.M. Leake, 'On Greek Inscriptions from Delphi, communicated in a letter from Sir Gardner Wilkinson to W.R. Hamilton, esq.' in Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, 2nd ser., 2 (1847), 4-12 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 78, fols. 12v-20)
  • Handbook for Travellers in Egypt London: John Murray , 1847
  • Dalmatia and Montenegro: with a Journey to Mostar in Herzegovina, and Remarks on the Slavonic Nations; the History of Dalmatia and Ragusa; the Usmocs; c. c. (2 vols.) London: John Murray , 1848 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 86-9)
  • 'On the origin and early use of the pointed arch' [unpublished: dated at Lucerne, 22 June 1849, and read at the Royal Institute of British Architects, 23 July 1849] (MS. Wilkinson dep. e. 54, fols. 20-8)
  • The Architecture of Ancient Egypt (with a separate volume of plates) London: John Murray , 1850 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 91; a. 7)
  • Rome in 1848-49 London: T. Richards , March 1850 (MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 78, fols. 30-7)
  • 'Remarks on the Country between Wady Halfeh and Gebel Berkel, in Ethiopia, with Observations on the Level of the Nile' in Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 20 (1851), 154-9
  • The Fragments of the Hieratic Papyrus at Turin: containing the Names of Egyptian Kings, with the Hieratic Inscription at the back (with a separate volume of plates) London: T Richards , 1851 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 94; a. 9-11)
  • 'On an Early Mosaic in St. Mark's: Representing the Removal of the Body of the Evangelist to Venice' in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 7 (1852), 258-63 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 78, fols. 38-42)
  • 'On the Decrease of the Level of the Nile, and on Egyptian Fortification' in Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, 2nd ser., 4 (1853), 93-108 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 78, fols. 21-8)
  • A Popular Account of the Ancient Egyptians (2 vols.) London: John Murray, 1854
  • 'On the Present State of Taste in Ornamental Design' in The Builder, 12 (1854), 385-7, 410-12, 446-8, 459-60
  • 'Account of the Jimma Country' in Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 25 (1855), 206-14
  • 'An Etruscan Tomb at Cervetri, the Ancient Caere' in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 12 (1856), 1-35 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 78, fols. 47-70)
  • 'The Apis-Tablets in the Louvre' (submitted by R.S. Poole) in Monthly Review of Literature, Science and Art, 1 (1856), 662-4 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 78, fols. 43v-5)
  • The Egyptians in the Time of the Pharaohs, being a Companion to the Crystal Palace Egyptian Collections (including an introduction to the study of hieroglyphics by Samuel Birch) London: Bradbury and Evans, 1857
  • Report on the translation of a cuneiform inscription in Sir Henry Rawlinson et al., Inscription of Tiglath Pileser i., King of Assyria, B.C. 1150 London: Royal Asiatic Society , 1857, 7-8
  • On Colour and on the Necessity for a General Diffusion of Taste among all Classes. With remarks on laying out dressed or geometrical gardens London: John Murray , 1858 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 98-9)
  • Contribution to 'A Discussion on Obelisks and Monoliths as Ornaments of Great Cities' in Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 11 (1858), 183-4
  • Commentary on parts of Herodotus, Histories, with illustrations, in George Rawlinson, The History of Herodotus (4 vols.) London: John Murray, 1858-60
  • Carn Brea, near Redruth, Cornwall Truro: Royal Institution of Cornwall, 1860 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 160, fols. 1-17)
  • 'On the Rock-Basins of Dartmoor, and some British Remains in England' in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 16 (1860), 101-32 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 104, fols. 1-22)
  • 'On the Use of Granite' in Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 13 (1860), 152-3 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 104, fol. 29; d. 105, fol. 1)
  • 'On Some of the Vestiges of the Britons near Hathersage' in The Reliquary, 1 (1860-1), 159-66 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 104, fols. 23-8)
  • 'On Ancient British Walls' in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 17 (1861), 1-8 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 104, fols. 30-6; d. 106, fols. 1-9)
  • 'On Saracenic Architecture' in Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 14 (1861), 216-230 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 105, fols. 5-12; d. 106, fols. 114-23)
  • 'British Remains on Dartmoor' in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 18 (1862), 22-53, 111-33 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 104, fols. 37-75)
  • 'Heads placed over Arches' in Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 16 (1863), 235-9 (and MSS. Wilkinson dep. d. 105, fols. 13-15; d. 106, fols. 124-47)
  • 'Long and Short Work' in Associated Architectural Societies Reports and Papers, 7 (1863), 41-52 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 106, fols. 18-39
  • 'Ostrea virginica, a new British Oyster, at Tenby' in The Zoologist, 1st ser., 23 (1865), 9558-9
  • 'Avenues and Carns about Arthur's Stone in Gower' in Archaeologia Cambrensis, 4th ser., 1 (1870), 22-45, 117-21 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 160, fols. 18-42)
  • 'Cromlechs and other Remains in Pembrokeshire' in Collectanea Archaeologica, 2 (1871), 219-40 (MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 105, fols. 16-33)
  • 'The Menvendanus Stone' in Archaeologia Cambrensis, 4th ser., 2 (1871), 140-57 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 160, fols. 43-56)
  • Egypt (map), London: J. Arrowsmith , 1875 (MS. Wilkinson dep. a. 4, fol. 29)
  • 'The Listening Slave and the Flaying of Marsyas' in Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, 2nd ser., 11 (1878), 263-79 (and MS. Wilkinson dep. d. 160, fols. 57-70)
Title
Catalogue of the archive of Sir John Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875), Egyptologist, [9th cent.]-1921, n.d.
Status
Completed
Author
Sarah J. A. Flynn
Date
1997
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Contact:
Weston Library
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