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Undergraduate study, Queen Mary, University of London
Ref No (click to see in context)JS
Extent1 box containing 147 items
Creator NameSmetham, James (1821-1889)
DescriptionLetters written by James Smetham, 1853-1877, mainly to William Davies, concerning his work, schemes to raise money and his religious beliefs. Smetham called his letters "ventilators" and they often took the form of handmade notebooks with their contents resembling diaries or commonplace books. Other correspondents include Rev Thomas Akroyd, Quintin Hogg (1845-1903), Charles Mansford, Charles Gabriel Dante Rossetti (1828-1882), John Ruskin (1819-1900) and Frederic James Shields (1833-1911). Also letters to Sarah Smetham, his widow, from William Davies, 1889-1895.
Admin HistoryJames Smetham was born in Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire, in 1821 and educated in Leeds. He began his career apprenticed to an architect but left to make his living painting portraits in Shropshire. In 1843 he went to London and entered the Academy School but left before completing the course and returned to itinerate portrait painting. In 1851 he became drawing teacher at the Wesleyan Normal College, Westminster, where he remained until his final illness. He married Sarah Goble, another teacher from the College, in 1854, and they had six children. In 1877 he suffered a final breakdown and lived in seclusion until his death in 1889. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery. His early work has been compared to William Blake and he was a Pre-Raphaelite associate numbering John Ruskin and Charles Gabriel Dante Rossetti among his admirers and friends. Religion was as important to him as art, he regularly attended Saturday and Sunday services and was a Methodist class leader. After his death his widow collaborated with William Davies (c1830-1897), a lifelong friend of Smetham and his family, on an edition of her husband's letters.
ArrangementThe letters are arranged in the following files, and then chronologically:
1. Letters by James Smetham to various 1853-1877.
2. Letters from Sarah Smetham to James Smetham 1863-1874.
3. Letters to Sarah Smetham from her mother, Mrs Gable, 1860-1874.
4. William Davies to Sarah Smetham, 1889-1895.
5. Letters to James Smetham and others from various, c1860-1892.
Access StatusOpen
CodePerson or Corporate Body Name
DS/UK/122Smetham; Sarah; née Goble, wife of James Smetham
DS/UK/123Shields; Frederick James (1833-1911); painter
DS/UK/124Ruskin; John (1819-1900); author, artist and social reformer
DS/UK/125Rossetti; Dante Gabriel (1828-1882); painter and poet
DS/UK/126Mansford; Charles (fl.1853-1877); friend of James Smetham
DS/UK/128Hogg; Quintin (1845-1903); founder and president of the Polytechnic Institute
DS/UK/129Davies; William (c1830-1897); friend of James Smetham
DS/UK/130Akroyd; Thomas (fl.1853-1877); clergyman, friend of James Smetham
DS/UK/157Blake; William (1757-1827); poet, painter
DS/UK/158Brewster; Sir; David (1781-1868); philosopher
DS/UK/159Bronte; Patrick (1777-1861)
DS/UK/160Brown; Ford Madox (1821-1893); painter
DS/UK/161Browning; Robert (1812-1889); poet
DS/UK/162Budgett; James. S (fl.1869)
DS/UK/163Burne-Jones; Lady; Edward Coley (1833-1898); painter
DS/UK/164Carlyle; Thomas (1795-1881); essayist, historian
DS/UK/165Chatterton; Thomas (1752-1770); poet
DS/UK/156Cowper-Temple; Lady; Georgiana (1822-1901)
DS/UK/166Cowper-Temple; William Francis (1811-1888); Baron Mount-Temple
DS/UK/167Delaroche; Paul (fl.1872); painter
DS/UK/168De Quincy; Thomas (1785-1859); writer
DS/UK/169Dobell; Sydney Thompson (1824-1874); poet, critic
DS/UK/170Foster; Myles Birket (1825-1899); painter
DS/UK/29McDougall; Eleanor (1873-1956); Principal, Missionary, Classicist
DS/UK/171Gilchrist; Alexander (1828-1861); biographer
DS/UK/173Goble; Sarah (fl.1860-1874); Mother of Sarah Smetham
DS/UK/174Hawthorne; Nathaniel (1804-1864); Novelist
DS/UK/36Newton; William (fl. 1824-1846); landlord of Benjamin Robert Haydon
DS/UK/175Heywood; Phoebe Ann (fl.1864); James Smetham's sister
DS/UK/176Heywood; Thomas (fl.1864); James Smetham's brother in law
DS/UK/177Jobson; Frederick James (1812-1881); Wesleyan Minister
DS/UK/90Keats; John (1795-1821); An English Romantic poet.
DS/UK/178Landor; Walter Savage (1775-1864); author
DS/UK/179Landseer; Sir; Edwin Henry (1802-1873); animal painter
DS/UK/180Leighton; Frederic (1830-1896); Baron of Stretton; painter
DS/UK/181Macaulay; Thomas Babington (1800-1859); Baron; historian
DS/UK/78Schmitthoff; Clive Macmillan (Maximilian) (1903-1990); jurist
DS/UK/183Milton; John (1608-1674); poet
DS/UK/184Morris; William (1834-1896); poet, artist
DS/UK/113Palmer; Samuel (1805-1881); painter
DS/UK/185Rembrandt; Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669); painter
DS/UK/186Richard (fl.1867); cousin of James Smetham
DS/UK/187Scott; William Bell (1811-1890); poet, painter
DS/UK/188Scudder; Horace Elisha (1838-1902); editor, writer
DS/UK/190Smith; Alexander (1830-1867); Poet
DS/UK/191Stead; John Fishwick (fl.1864)
DS/UK/192Steward; J (fl.1863)
DS/UK/193Stothard; Thomas (1755-1834); painter, book illustrator
DS/UK/194Thackeray; William Makepeace (1811-1863); novelist
DS/UK/195Tennyson; Alfred (1809-1892); poet
DS/UK/196Turner; Joseph Mallord William (1775-1851); painter
DS/UK/197Willson; Edward James (1787-1854); architect
DS/UK/2768Smetham; James (1821-1889); artist