|Description||A collection of photographs taken either by or for Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, together with 584 of Alma-Tadema's drawings and prints. His pictures, chiefly of subjects from the ancient and medieval world, had an immense popularity in later 19th century England. They are notable for their almost photographic realism, and his extensive collection of actual photographs and prints revealed his sources. The photographs cover a wide range of subjects, including architecture, classical landscapes, costumes, antiquities and animals, and are excellent examples of nineteenth century photography. Alma-Tadema started collecting photographs as early as 1863 and used them as studies for his paintings in order to achieve historical authenticity. |
|Administrative History||Lawrence Alma-Tadema was born in Friesland in the Netherlands in 1836. He was trained in Antwerp and came into contact with Baron Henri Ley (1815-1869), a painter of sixteenth century Flemish historical subjects and Louis de Taeye (1822-1890) a painter and professor of archaeology at the Antwerp Academy. Following his first marriage to Marie Pauline Gressin Dumoulin de Boisgirard in 1863, he visited Italy and, influenced by the archaeological remains he saw in Florence, Rome, Naples and Pompeii, he developed a life long interest in classical archaeology and architecture. He began to acquire a reputation as a painter of historical subjects, particularly of Greek and Roman antiquity. Between 1865 and 1870, he lived in Brussels but then moved to London. He was remarried in 1871, to Laura Epps, a former pupil, who also practised as an artist. He was a very prolific painter, producing more than 400 paintings in his lifetime, and his pictures sold well. His success, popularity and wealth continued to grow and he regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy, becoming an Associate Member in 1876 and a full member in 1879. He was knighted in 1899, awarded the Order of Merit in 1905 and the Royal Institute of British Architects' Gold Medal in 1906. He was buried in St Paul's Cathedral in 1912. |
Reference: University of Birmingham, Special Collections Department, Online Archive Catalogue. Accessed May 2002.