General correspondence of George Richmond

RA Collection: Archive

Archive context

Showing item 3 of 12 in this group

Reference code



General correspondence of George Richmond





Extent & medium

c.950 items

Content Description

This series represents all letters within the archive that do not belong to a coherent grouping. Many of the personal and professional relationships that Richmond fostered during his lifetime are covered by this correspondence.

One sequence of letters does something to reveal Richmond's early reliance on Sir Robert Harry Inglis and his family. Through this connection comes a fruitful and life-long attachment to the Forster wing of the Thornton family and dealings with the Wilberforce clan subsequent to the completion of his famous portrait of William Wilberforce. Marianne Thornton's letters are of particular interest, not only on their own account, but also because they provide an insight in the early years of E.M. Forster. A further early familial bond is shown through the letters of the Coleridge family and by extension the Pattesons, in particular John Coleridge Patteson. Lastly, sequences of letters from the Buxtons and Gurneys do something to mix personal attachment to professional practicalities.

Richmond's links with the aristocratic families of the Duke's of Buccleuch and the Earls of Leven and Melville are fully documented. Hints are also given of Richmond's connections in politics and culture through letters from William Ewart Gladstone, Sir William Boxall and Sir Charles Lock Eastlake.

The ease with which Richmond moved in eclesiastical and academic circles is demonstrated by the long friendships fostered with, among others, C.T. Longley, Sir Henry Acland and Henry George Liddell.


It is likely that the bulk of this material passed into the hands of Thomas Knyvett Richmond after his father's death. Just as in the journals his hand can be found in many annotations to the material. Where groups of letters remain they are often held within envelopes annotated with the initials TKR. These small groupings have been dealt with as separate series.


The original arrangement of these papers was impossible to divine by the time they entered the Royal Academy's possession. This series had been catalogued by Susan Palmer (completed July 2001). All the correspondence was described and each letter or grouping of letters was given a unique number running from 1 to 985. A complete lack of order showed that the letters had been dealt with beginning with the top of the "box" before working one's way down. No further context was provided with Palmer's catalogue.

After careful examination it was decided that this pre-existing arrangement should be dispensed with as there appeared to be little internal cohesion. Where discrete groups of letters were found they were extracted from the main run of correspondence to be treated as a distinct series. Similarly all material generated by subsequent Richmond family history interests has been separated from this main run of correspondence.

GRI/3 represents everything left after these extractions.

Associated Material

The correspondence of George Richmond has suffered at the hands of biographers and descendants. It is evident that certain letters must have been extracted and not returned. Neither John Ruskin nor Samuel Palmer are represented to the level at which they ought to be. Ruskin's letters bear numbers that display just how little of his original correspondnce with Richmond survives.

Luckily Palmer's letters to Richmond have been published in "The Letters of Samuel Palmer" (see bibliography).


"George Richmond", by Raymond Lister, Robin Garton, London, 1981, ISBN 0 906030 13 7

"The letters of Samuel Palmer", edited by Raymond Lister, 2 vols, Clarenden Press, Oxford, 1974, ISBN 0 19 817309 1