Collection Bonomi MSS - Joseph Bonomi Collection

Relief of helmeted and cloaked male figure with female(?) figure behind Antiques in Lord North's Collection Free-standing sculpture of draped standing male youth Free-standing sculpture of Asclepius with Rod in left hand Free-standing sculpture of bearded male nude figure (Zeus(?)) with raised right arm and cape Free-standing sculpture of youth in tunic, partially erased study of right hand on left Free-standing sculpture of Athena with helmet and shield Free-standing sculpture of spear bearing male nude, pencil sketch of head underneath ink facing o... Free-standing sculpture of faun, cut off arm on right Relief of partial running figure Relief of panther(?) and wing Relief of battle scene with two fighting warriors, one dying warrior, and helmeted Athena on left... Marble base with relief of two caryatids (only that on the right reproduced) and seated woman as ... Frontal and profile view of sculptural head and upper torso (Naples, not identified) Free-standing marble sculpture of a wounded warrior (Protesilaus), (Naples, Museo Archeologico Na... Profile view of head from marble bust of Athena Parthenos wearing attic helmet with sphinx as cre... Frontal view of free-standing group of statue of nude Dionysus and young nude satyr (Naples, Muse... Free-standing marble sculpture of satyr holding cup [and bunch of grapes] (Naples, Museo Archeolo... Free-standing marble copy of the Doryphoros by Polykleitos (Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale,... Free-standing bronze statuette of putto with amphora on right shoulder (Naples, Museo Archeologic... Free-standing bronze statuette of young satyr holding wine sack and rhyton (Naples, Museo Archeol... Free-standing marble sculpture of a satyr with the infant Dionysus (Naples, Museo Archeologico Na... Bronze bust of ephebe (Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, inv. 5633, 3rd quarter of 1st centur... Four sketches of bronze statuettes (Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale) Colour-coded sketch of winged horses pulling two charioteers in profile, and beginning of meander... Italy. Pompeii. Forum. Antiques Naples Antique Dress I Profile view of free-standing bronze statue of Danaid (Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, inv.... Frontal view of free-standing marble sculpture of Diana Lucifera (Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazi...
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Identity area

Reference code

Bonomi MSS


Joseph Bonomi Collection


  • c. 1824-1840s (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

3 atlas size boxes and 1 folder

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

British sculptor, draughtsman and traveller. Studied at the Royal Academy, awarded a scholarship allowing him to continue his studies in Rome, 1823. Travelled throughout Egypt, Palestine and Syria, with extended periods spent living in Egypt between 1824 and 1844, during which time he created a large portfolio of drawings and watercolours. Worked for Robert Hay, James Burton, Edward W. Lane, Sir John Gardner Wilkinson, and Ippolito Rosellini. Was a member of Lepsius's expedition to Egypt between 1842 and 1844. Bonomi assisted Owen Jones, the architect responsible for the design and installation of the Egyptian court, Crystal Palace, 1853. Appointed Curator of the Sir John Soane’s Museum in 1861, a position he held until his death in 1878.

Archival history

1) Bonomi drawings and paintings, in the possession of the Bonomi family for several generations until deposit in the Griffith Institute Archive.
2) Typescript of extracts from Bonomi’s diary, created for the Griffith Institute in the 1940s.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

1) Bonomi drawings and paintings, donated in 1997 by Mrs Vivien Betti, descendant of Joseph Bonomi.
2) Typescript of extracts from Bonomi’s diary, made with permission of Mrs de Cosson, the owner of the original diary in the 1940s when this copy was created.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

1) Bonomi drawings and paintings, 52 handmade ‘portfolios’ containing pencil and pastel drawings, watercolours, tracings and commercial prints, almost certainly arranged by Bonomi, some later rearrangement was done by Bonomi's descendants [Bonomi MSS 1-52].
2) Typescript of diary, carbon-copy(?) typescript of extracts from Joseph Bonomi’s diary, entries for periods in Egypt dating between 25th March 1829 to 26th May 1834 [Bonomi MSS 53].

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

1) Bonomi drawings and paintings, within the portfolios the material has been kept as received. The portfolios have been categorised into three groups: Egypt, the Near East, and Classical designs.
2) Typescript of extracts from Bonomi’s diary, kept as received.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

1) Bonomi drawings and paintings, property of the Griffith Institute. No restrictions.
2) Typescript of extracts from Bonomi’s diary, property of the de Cosson family in the 1940s. Access to the typescript is provided for study purposes only. Permission to quote from or requests to reproduce from the diary must be acquired from the de Cosson family. The Griffith Institute does not know if the original diary is still in the possession of the de Cosson family and has no current contact information.

Conditions governing reproduction

1) Bonomi drawings and paintings, copyright Griffith Institute, University of Oxford.
2) Typescript of extracts from Bonomi’s diary, copyright of the de Cosson family.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

No problems.

Finding aids

1) Bonomi drawings and paintings:

  • list and notes for the Egyptian porfolios by Dr Rosalind L. B. Moss (some of the references in them are quoted in the Topographical Bibliography and are also being recorded in the final catalogue under 'PM reference'),
  • preliminary catalogue for the Egyptian and Near Eastern portfolios [Bonomi MSS 1-32],
  • final catalogue of the entire collection in progress on this website.

2) Typescript of extracts from Bonomi’s diary, none.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

1) Bonomi drawings and paintings, these are originals.
2) The original Bonomi diary was in the possession of the de Cosson family in the 1940s.

Existence and location of copies

1) Bonomi drawings and paintings, none.
2) Typescript of extracts from Bonomi’s diary, not known.

Related units of description

Other Archives:

Related descriptions

Publication note

Notes area


  • Antonia Burgess-Freshwater created the preliminary catalogue for the Egyptian and Near Eastern portfolios [Bonomi MSS 1-32].
  • Mia Parnall and Beatrice Law (placement programme for BA students in Art History) and Elsie McLaughlin are currently working on the final catalogue of the entire collection on this website, under the supervision of Francisco Bosch-Puche.

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Accession area

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Physical storage

  • Shelf: 1211A, 1212