Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)AT/1
TitlePortfolios of photographs, drawings, tracings and prints
Extent168 boxes
Date19th century
DescriptionLawrence Alma-Tadema's collection of photographs and prints. Also includes drawings and tracings mainly by Alma-Tadema, and a few by J. A. Cull; J. J. Gaul; Miss Alma-Tadema; Lady Alma-Tadema; and G. Calleot Horsley.

Lawrence Alma-Tadema used many elements of Roman Art and architecture in his paintings. He strove for historical authenticity and in order to achieve this he made use of photographs. He started collecting photographs during his journey through Italy in 1863. Alma-Tadema bought hundreds of photographs during his many subsequent journeys, and many, but by no means all, are of Italian subjects.

Alma-Tadema stored these photographs, glued on cardboard mounts, in portfolios. These portfolios are sorted according to subjects: Roman aqueducts, triumphal arches, Egyptian architecture, flowers and animals, etc. Details from the photographs are often to be recognised in his paintings. The names of the photographers are usually unknown as Alma-Tadema did not record their names; regarding the subject matter as important not the photographs' value to art history.
ArrangementThe Portfolios were largely arranged by Alma-Tadema under different subject headings (see AT/4/5). 164 portfolios were listed in the handlist 'Alma Tadema Library. List of Photographs, Drawings, Prints', dated '1915 (Under revision)'. It is unknown when or by whom references portfolio's 165-167 were assigned. The contents of these three additional portfolios were listed during cataloguing enhancement work in 2019.

Portfolio 162 is not held at Cadbury Research Library. Location unknown.

Physical arrangement: In 2014-2015, all the drawings and tracings were removed from the portfolio sequence and re-boxed as part of a conservation project undertaken by the Cadbury Research Library. This material is now shelved separately from the rest of the collection and needs to be identified on request slips with the new Drawing Box location reference as well as the item number. The Drawing Box locations are noted on the paper copy of 'Guide to Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema collection: Photographs and correspondence', available on the reading room shelves.
Access StatusOpen