- c. 1824-1870s (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
3 atlas size boxes and 1 folder
Name of creator
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.
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 four groups (although some specific items are actually misplaced, they have not been moved but kept in their original portfolios):
- Egypt [Bonomi MSS 1-25]
- Europe et al. [Bonomi MSS 26-28]
- the Near East [Bonomi MSS 29-32]
- Classical designs [Bonomi MSS 33-52]
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
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
1) Bonomi drawings and paintings:
- list and notes for the Egyptian portfolios by Dr Rosalind L. B. Moss (some of the references in the list are quoted in the published Topographical Bibliography volumes as well as being recorded in this catalogue as 'PM reference'). In the period of time between Dr Moss consulting the material and its accession in the Archive, distribution of some of the material has been changed and relocated within other folders by the former owner. There were also periodic exchanges of material between the respective collections in the possession of Bonomi's other descendants, hence some of the items seen and recorded by Dr Moss are no longer present [info Mrs Vivien Betti in 1997],
- preliminary catalogue for the Egyptian, European et al. 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
- The dimensions given for each item are maximum width per maximum height.
- Antonia Burgess-Freshwater created the preliminary catalogue for the Egyptian, European et al. and Near Eastern portfolios [Bonomi MSS 1-32].
- Elsie McLaughlin created the final catalogue for part of the Egyptian portfolios [Bonomi MSS 1-5] on this website, under the supervision of Francisco Bosch-Puche.
- Ella Thomas (placement programme for BA students in Art History 2018-2019) created the final catalogue for part of the Egyptian portfolios [Bonomi MSS 23-25], the European et al. portfolios [Bonomi MSS 26-28] and the Near Eastern portfolios [Bonomi MSS 29-32] on this website, under the supervision of Francisco Bosch-Puche.
- Beatrice Law and Mia Parnall (placement programme for BA students in Art History 2017-2018) created the final catalogue for the Classical portfolios [Bonomi MSS 33-52] on this website, under the supervision of Francisco Bosch-Puche.
- If you spot any mistakes or can improve on the cataloguing, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subject access points
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Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Digital object metadata