RA Collection: Archive
Extent & medium
Although many of the single items were collected purely for their signatures - a large number of letters merely list titles of paintings for forthcoming exhibitions - there are a number of letters of particular interest. For example, a letter from Joseph Bonomi to the Earl of Buchan describing James Barry's last illness (JU/4/123-4); Sir Richard Westmacott to James Elmes giving an account of his career, particularly his studies in Italy as a young man (JU/6/154-5); and a letter from Luke Clennell in 1816, perhaps hinting at the insanity which overtook him the following year [JU/10/217].
The pages of the RA exhibition catalogues for 1787-8 show numerous ms annotations identifying the subjects of portraits. They provide much information about individual portrait sitters not present in the annotations of the bound Royal Academy illustrated catalogues for these years. Further annotated catalogues: 1795, 1796 and 1797.