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Beilby's Birmingham Commercial Remembrancer

RA Collection: Archive

Reference code



Beilby's Birmingham Commercial Remembrancer





Extent & medium

1 volume

Content Description

Detailed notes made during Richmond's first trip to Rome. In the volume includes at its front lists of students admitted to study the antique at the British Museum, these are in the hand of T.K. Richmond. The diary reveals a young man working hard in Rome. There is little to record the social life of the English contingent in Rome and a great deal recording Richmond's responses to the works of art he sees there and in Naples and Florence. The following is a brief digest of some of the contents.

1837, November, meets Sir Henry Russell; discovers how to fix chalk drawings; 16th, goes to St. Peters and the Vatican with Severn and Palmer; gains lodgings with the Palmers; visits the Pantheon where Palmer tells him of outdoor preachers, he bemoans their lack in England; introduced to Mr. Rippingale and went with him to the studios of Gibson and Wyatt, not impressed; 24th, first drew in the Vatican; 25th, Borghese Gallery, disappointed, sups with Severn; 27th, meets Thorvaldson; 29th, sees the Pope give mass in the Sistine Chapel; starts attending classes at the Academy.

1837, December, 4th, visits the Capitoline, regrets neglecting study of the antique before now; complains about his eyes; 7th, Basilica of St. Pauls, complains that England spends all its money of railroads; 8th, the Campagna and aqueduct with Severn; 10th, meets Sir W. Knighton and Mr. Lear; works hard at the Vatican and the Academy, develops his serious consideration of the great renaissance masters; 16th, walk on the Campagna with Mr. Allen; 21st, hears of his father's death; 27th, recognised the mediocrity heaped among isolated examples of genius; 29th, birth of Mary Richmond; Severn entertains with stories of John Keats and an attempted murder on Lady Coventry in the Palazzo Barberini.

1838, January, 2nd, hears of a man stabbed on Severn's stair by some Russians; 2nd, with Palmer, an ancient church and the Baths of Caracalla; beset by doubt over his direction in art; 13th, Palazzo Farnese, regards Michelangelo as the "King of Art"; begins to study the techniques of the old masters and conducts experiments with "plaster" grounds and egg tempera, these experiments in technique were to continue; 25th, dines with Lord Clifford; 26th climbs scaffolding in the Sistine Chapel; spends time with a Mr. Geldhart studying Correggio.

1838, February, 11th, meets Mr. Collins; begins working on anatomy, also works at length on an "old man"; 18th, meets Mr. [John] Baring; continues to tour with Mr. Geldhart. March, 2nd, spoils a portrait of Tommy; given a commission by Mr. Baring (later annotation identifies it as the "Journey to Emmaus"); 6th walks with Mr. & Mrs. Moore, meeting in the evening concerning Mr. Moore's expulsion, well handled by Rippingdale; 15th, describes a view of the Coliseum.

1838, April, 5th, goes to Tivoli with Baring and Collins, on his return complains of the climate of Rome; 8th, describes the tapestries from Raphael's cartoons; holy week in Rome; arranges, with Sir W. Knighton, for a scaffold in the Sistine Chapel; 18th, draws Mr. Acland. May, visits Naples with John Baring, gives a detailed response to what he sees; 21st, back in Rome, a day out with Mr. Acland, same day, leaves for Florence with his family.

1838, June, provides a detailed account of his stay in Florence. August, journeys with Geldhart around the Florentine countryside. September, after a gap in the diary he notes that he has sent drawings of H. Acland to Sir T. Acland and C. Courtney; 16th-17th, sketch, head and shoulders of a figure with another head, later annotation naming Mr. Palmer, but attaching it to "Comus" [Comus - the measure, Walker Art Gallery]. October, 4th, back in Rome. November, 17th, takes new lodgings on the Tarpeian Rock.

1839, January, attends a lavish party thrown by the Torlonias family in honour of the "Grand Duke" of Russia, Duke of Devonshire and the Duke of Sutherland were there; 12th, begins work on "Our saviour with two disciples going to Emmaus" and the other "Comas & his crew".

1839, February, visits Hurlstone and is disappointed with his works; discusses painting with Palmer and Severn; 15th, tea with the Palmers and Acland, discuss how to paint mountains; finishes a painting of two children, for which he will receive 20gs, he also has a commission for a painting of four children; 18th goes with Mr. Carey to the English burying ground to Keats's memorial; includes figure sketches, probably for "Comus"; 21st, calls on Lear and Ward, spends the evening with the Palmers; 25th journeys with Acland and Carey for a tour of the mountains.

1839, April, notes of his touring with Messrs Stirling and Arbekea[?]; works on his picture of Comus and on his commission from the Lindsays, Lord Lindsay would pay him 50gs; other commissions appear to be keeping him busy, he has drawn Lord Grosvenor. June, 16th their last day in Rome.

Some blank pages towards the end of the volume carry sketches; there are also pencil drafts of letters, one to Sir Robert Inglis another to an unknown gentleman; a scribbled story to Tommy precedes more sketches.