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Album of watercolors and drawings.

Call Number: GEN MSS 831
Scope and Contents

The collection primarily consists of an album filled with drawings, prints, ephemera, and manuscript poems, letters, dedicatory inscriptions, and notes collected or created by John Charles Denham. According to an inscription by Jane Porter (leaf 2), the album was possibly created as a tribute to Denham's first wife Mary Hamilton. The volume is bound in tooled leather, measures 10.5 by 8.25 inches, and is enclosed in a bespoke morocco case.

The album contains 107 small drawings and sketches in graphite, ink, and watercolor by prominent British artists from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries such as Richard Parkes Bonington, John Flaxman, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Paul Sandby, J. M. W. Turner, and Benjamin West, as well as Denham's cohort in the Society of Young Painters: François Louis Thomas Francia, Thomas Girtin, Sir Robert Ker Porter, and Augustus Wall Callcott. Many of the drawings are signed but most are undated, and appear to have been added to the book between the early 1830s and the mid-1850s. Several bear small paper tags with references to unidentified "Old 'Water Colour' Society" volumes and folios. Among the drawings are portrait sketches of James Boswell, Maria Cosway, William Cowper, John Charles Denham, and Sarah Siddons, as well as the title character Julia de Roubigné of the novel by Henry Mackenzie. The artist most prominently represented in the album is Sir Thomas Lawrence, with fifteen drawings, one etching, two letters, and a signature clipped from an unidentified document; the most prominent family represented is the painter/author Sir Robert Ker Porter and his sisters, the novelists Jane and Anna Maria Porter. Also present are watercolor landscapes by the wife and daughter of portrait painter Thomas Phillips and three members of the Batty family, and several drawings by Denham's young stepson Henry Thomas Hamilton. Two drawings in the album have historically been attributed to Thomas Gainsborough and one to John Hamilton Mortimer (leaves 63, 67, and 77).

Accompanying the album are folders of documentary material holding an undated album inventory (likely made at the turn of the twentieth century), and an essay by Dr. Frederick Beetham, a great-nephew of Catherine Copeman Denham; the latter relates the genealogy of the Denham and Copeman families, and traces the album's provenance to 1935.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The John Charles Denham Album of Watercolors and Drawings is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Edwin J. Beinecke, 1953.


Organized into two series: I. Denham Album, 1777-1856. II. Related Documents, 1935.

1777-1935 1790-1835
Majority of material found within 1790 - 1835
0.42 Linear Feet (1 box)
Related Names
Denham, John Charles, -1867
Bartolozzi, Francesco, 1727-1815
Batty, Robert, 1763?-1849
Batty, Robert, 1788 or 1789-1848
Beaumont, George Howland, Sir, 1753-1827
Beetham, Frederick
Bonington, Richard Parkes, 1801-1828
Callcott, Augustus Wall, 1779-1844
Callcott, Maria, Lady, 1785-1842
Campbell, Thomas, 1777-1844
Cattermole, George, 1800-1868
Cipriani, Giovanni Battista, 1727-1785
Clennell, Luke, 1781-1840
Collins, William, 1788-1847
Constable, John, 1776-1837
Cosway, Richard, 1740-1821
Cunningham, J. W. (John William), 1780-1861
Denham, John Charles, -1867
Delamotte, William, 1775-1863
Dyce, William, 1806-1864
Flaxman, John, 1755-1826
Francia, François Louis Thomas, 1772-1839
Gainsborough, Thomas, 1727-1788
Girtin, Thomas, 1775-1802
Hamilton, Henry Thomas, approximately 1794-1813
Hamilton, William, 1751-1801
Harlow, George Henry, 1787-1819
Hearne, Thomas, 1744-1817
Hook, Theodore Edward, 1788-1841
Lawrence, Thomas, Sir, 1769-1830
Loutherbourg, Philippe-Jacques de, 1740-1812
Mathews, Charles, 1776-1835
Mortimer, John Hamilton, 1740-1779
Müller, William James, 1812-1845
Owen, William, 1769-1825
Pardoe, Julia, 1804?-1862
Phillips, Thomas, 1770-1845
Poole, John, 1786?-1872
Porter, Anna Maria, 1778-1832
Porter, Jane, 1776-1850
Porter, Robert Ker, Sir, 1777-1842
Prout, Samuel, 1783-1852
Pyne, W. H. (William Henry), 1769-1843
Sandby, Paul, 1731-1809
Smirke, Robert, 1752-1845
Sotheby, William, 1757-1833
Stanfield, Clarkson, 1793-1867
Stothard, Thomas, 1755-1834
Thurston, John, 1774-1822
Tresham, Henry, 1749?-1814
Turner, J. M. W. (Joseph Mallord William), 1775-1851
Uwins, Thomas, 1782-1857
Varley, John, 1778-1842
West, Benjamin, 1738-1820
Westall, Richard, 1765-1836
Westmacott, Richard, 1799-1872
Wheatley, Francis, 1747-1801
Wilkie, David, Sir, 1785-1841
Wilson, Richard, 1713-1782
Wright, John Massey, 1777-1866
Language of Materials