Collections

Library Collections

Books and Other Printed Texts Prints, Drawings, and Paintings Digital Collections Related Links
Manuscript Materials Decorative Arts   Finding Collection Materials at the LWL

Books and Other Printed Texts

About the Books and Other Printed Texts

Like all materials in the collections of the Lewis Walpole Library, the books and pamphlets record and support the ideas and culture of eighteenth-century Britain, focusing particularly on Horace Walpole and his world. Formats range from books and pamphlets to trade cards, almanacs, broadsides, periodicals, and maps.

 

Holdings cover such topics as

  • Walpole and his friends, associates, and contemporaries
  • politics, history, diplomacy, geography, and travel
  • Great Britain
  • antiquarianism
  • bibliography
  • art, music, literature, and drama

The Library is perhaps best known for its collection of

  • approximately two-thirds of the traceable (and half of the known) volumes once belonging to Horace Walpole (local call number begins with 49)
  • numerous editions of Walpole's own works (local call number begins with 24)
  • those printed at his Strawberry Hill Press (local call number begins with 33 )
  • copies of each edition of the 1842 Sale catalogue (local call number begins with 485 842)

Highlights of a rich collection of extra-illustrated volumes include several copies of

  • Walpole's Catalogue of the Royal and Noble Authors of England
  • his Description of the Villa
  • the 1842 Sale catalogue, A Catalogue of the Classic Contents of Strawberry Hill
  • Seeley's Horace Walpole and His World
  • Pennant's Journey from London to the Isle of Wight

Finding Books and Other Printed Texts in the Library's Collection

The vast majority of the Library's holdings of printed texts are reflected in Orbis, Yale's online catalog, and the Walpole and Strawberry Hill items are described in detail in the published bibliographies listed below. The Library's books can also be found cataloged in Worldcat. Indices to other printed materials are available at the Library in Farmington. For information about searching Orbis, click here.

 

The Library uses a local classification scheme for all books except those in the reference collection.

Digitized Books and Other Printed Texts from the Library's Collection

The Library has begun to digitize several important texts from the collection. These can be found in the Digital Collection.

 

These digitized texts, which have had optical character recognition processing done to enable full-text seaerching, are available through the Library's online digital collection. The first set of books to be included is

Plans are in place to add other texts to the collection:

  • Miscellaneous Antiquities, the occasional monographic series which Walpole began to publish, Lewis picked up, and the Library has recently resumed
  • Allen T. Hazen's three Walpole- and Strawberry Hill-related works:
    • A Catalogue of Horace Walpole's Library
    • A Bibliography of Horace Walpole
    • A Bibliography of the Strawberry Hill Press

Ephemera has been digitized as images and can be found in the Library's Digital Image Collection at: http://images.library.yale.edu/walpoleweb/. Although individual pieces are not full-text searchable in the digital collection online, items within bound volumes are searchable by keyword and by call number from Orbis.

 

Highlights include:

  • Playbills
  • Trade Cards and trade tokens
  • Bookplates
  • Calling cards and invitations
  • Ballads and broadsides

 

 

Selected further information:

Hazen, Allen Tracy. A Catalogue of Horace Walpole's Library. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1969.

Hazen, Allen Tracy. A Bibliography of Horace Walpole. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948.

Hazen, Allen Tracy. A Bibliography of the Strawberry Hill Press. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948.

{back to top}

Manuscript and Archival Materials


From Horace Walpole's Books of Materials, volume 1, 1759, (49 2615) in his hand.

The manuscript collections at the Lewis Walpole Library provide invaluable insight into eighteenth-century life.

Well known for the approximately 3000 letters to and from Horace Walpole and a further 3000 photostats and transcripts of letters from other collections which together have been published in the Yale Correspondence, the Library also holds other manuscript materials by or related to Horace Walpole. Among them are manuscript copies of Aedes Walpolianae and the Mysterious Mother, as well as Walpole's Commonplace Books, Books of Materials, and Miscellany, and many books and examples of graphic art bearing annotations in his hand.

Also included in the holdings are account and receipt books, bills and other documents of household and merchant establishments, as well as travel diaries and poems. Among the literary manuscripts is Louis XVI's autograph manuscript translation of Horace Walpole's Historic Doubts on the Reign of Richard III. The Library also holds a ten-volume collection of mostly Italian music manuscripts compiled by Thomas Gray.

Other manuscripts include significant holdings of

  • personal and official diplomatic correspondence from eighteenth-century notables such as
    • Sir Charles Hanbury Williams
    • Edward Weston
    • Henry Seymour Conway
    • George Grenville
  • letters to and from friends and relatives of Horace Walpole such as
    • Anne Seymour Damer
    • Lady Diana Beauclerk
    • Agnes and Mary Berry
    • the Clement family
  • diaries and memoirs
    • Lady Mary Coke (in photostat)
    • Mme du Deffand
    • George Bubb Dodington
    • the Rev. Dr. John Trusler

Finding Manuscripts and Archival Material in the Library's Collection

Although only a portion of the collection has been cataloged in Orbis, the Yale University online catalog, including most bound manuscript volumes and recent acquisitions, the rest is accessible through a number of card indices at the Library in Farmington.

The manuscript collection has been described in several articles in the Yale University Library Gazette, as listed below. Manuscript holdings as of 2004 are also noted under the indexes of the National Register of Archives in the UK, and the Library is listed in the Archon Directory (click here).

For information about searching for the Library's manuscript materials in Orbis, click here. For information about searching the Gray manuscript music collection in RISM, click here.

 

Selected further information:

Black, Jeremy. "Non-Walpolean Manuscripts in the Lewis Walpole Library." The Yale University Library Gazette, (67 (1992), 58-67). Available electronically through JSTOR at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40859641 Yale-only

Lindsay, Alexander. Index of English Literary Manuscripts, vol.3 1700-1800, compiled by Margaret M. Smith (pts. 1-4). London: Mansell; New York: Bowker, 1980-1997. Parts of the entry on Walpole's manuscripts beginning on page 235 is available online through Google books, click here.

Schweizer, Karl. "Edward Weston (1703-70) : the papers of an eighteenth-century under-secretary in the Lewis Walpole Library." The Yale University Library Gazette, (71 (1996)43-48). Available electronically through JSTOR at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40859158 Yale-only

Smith, Warren Hunting, assisted by Catherine Jestin and Karen V. Peltier. “The Manuscript Collections at the Lewis Walpole Library.” The Yale University Library Gazette (56:3-4 [April 1982], 53-60). Available electronically through JSTOR at http://www.jstor.org/stable/40858792 Yale-only

Walpole, Horace. The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence. Edited by W.S. Lewis [et al.]. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1933-1983. Available electronically at: http://images.library.yale.edu/hwcorrespondence/ (*Please use a browser other than Internet Explorer for best results)

{back to top}

Prints, Drawings, and Paintings


James Gillray.
Plumb Pudding in Danger or State Epicures Taking un Petit Souper.
February 26, 1805.
Etching with original hand coloring.

The Lewis Walpole Library houses a significant collection of fine and graphic arts. The prints and drawings make up one of the most important collections of eighteenth-century British visual satire anywhere and it is the largest such collection outside the United Kingdom. The roughly 30,000 works on paper include over 10,000 caricatures and satirical prints, important holdings of drawings, and portrait and topographical prints.

The collection includes many important works by such artists as

  • William Henry Bunbury
  • George Woodward
  • James Gillray
  • Thomas Rowlandson
  • George Cruikshank
  • Isaac Cruikshank
  • William Hogarth

The Library holds the most complete collection of fine-impression prints by Hogarth in the United States.

Many prints, drawings, and paintings now in the Lewis Walpole Library once belonged to Horace Walpole and often include annotations in his own hand.

Portrait miniatures and oil paintings, many in fine examples of period frames, include

  • Self-portrait miniature by Liotard
  • Allan Ramsay’s portrait of Horace Walpole
  • portraits of members of Walpole's family and friends such as
    • Charles Churchill, Lady Maria Walpole and their Eldest Son Charles, by Eccardt
    • Sir Robert Walpole and Lady Catherine Shorter, also by Eccardt
    • Sir Horace Mann and Galfridus Mann, by Astley
  • paintings of Strawberry Hill and Twickenham

Finding Graphic Materials in the Library's Collection

Most of the Library's caricatures, satires, and other graphic materials, are cataloged in Orbis, Yale's Library catalog. The Orbis records include links to the digital images. Unbound graphic works are typically cataloged individually. Usually bound volumes of graphic works are cataloged as a whole, with added name subject entries for artists included in the volume. The classification scheme for graphic works are local call number and is based on the date of the work. For example, a print published on October 23, 1786 has the call number 786.10.23.01++.

For information about searching for the Library's graphic materials in Orbis, click here. More detailed help is also available by clicking here.

Prints, drawings, and paintings that belonged to Walpole are included in the database Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Collection. To go to Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Collection, click here.

For information about finding the Library's materials in Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Collection, click here.

The vast majority of caricatures and satires have been digitized and available on the Library's Digital Images Collection. It is possible to search the digital image collection by keyword, call number, or to browse by year. *Please use a browser other than Internet Explorer for best results. To go to the Digital Images Collection, click here.

For information about searching and finding graphic materials in the Library's Digital Images Collection, click here.

Selected further information:

Riely, John C. "English Prints in the Lewis Walpole Library." The Yale University Library Gazette, (49 (1975), 364-375). Available electronically through JSTOR at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40859498 Yale-only

{back to top}

Decorative Arts

Fulfilling his intention to recreate a piece of the eighteenth century in his Farmington house, W. S. Lewis assembled a number of significant works of art and other objects from Strawberry Hill, Walpole's "little Gothic castle" in Twickenham. These items demonstrate Walpole's own wide-ranging collecting interests as well as his adaptation of Gothic elements for the interior decoration of Strawberry Hill.

Foremost among these objects are:

Decorative arts objects that belonged to Walpole are included in Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Collection.

For information about finding the Library's materials in Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Collection, click here.

{back to top}

Digital Collections

The Lewis Walpole Library Digital Collections make selected texts and images from the Library's collections freely available over the internet. *Please use a browser other than Internet Explorer for best results.

The electronic version of The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1937-1983) provides free online access to all 48 volumes of W.S. Lewis’s scholarly edition of the correspondence of Horace Walpole (1717-1797), youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole, England's first Prime Minister.  Each page has been scanned and run through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) processing to enable scholars to browse the scanned pages as well as search the text for keywords.  In addition, users may browse indexes created from the OCR text, including indexes by date of correspondence and by name of correspondent as well as indexes to the illustrations and appendices.

For more information about Horace Walpole's Correspondence and help with searching the electronic version, click here .

To go to Horace Walpole's Correspondence, click here.

The Lewis Walpole Library Digital Images Collection (commonly referred to as the "DL") presents images of visual materials from Library's collection. The majority of the Library's world-renowned collection of English caricatures and political satirical prints from the late-seventeenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries are presented in the Digital Image Collection, including works by Gillray, Rowlandson, Woodward, Bunbury, and Newton, among others as well as the Library's extraordinary collection of works by William Hogarth.

Prints, drawings, and watercolors related to Horace Walpole's collection and house at Strawberry Hill are also represented, including several extra-illustrated editions of Walpole’s Description of the Villa, once owned by William Bawtree, Richard Bull, Thomas Kirgate, and Walpole himself as well as other volumes formerly in Walpole’s library such as his A Collection of Prints Engraved by Various Persons of Quality, and albums of drawings by his friends Richard Bentley and John Chute, as well as an Album of Drawings with natural history illustrations by Maria Sybilla Merian. Recent additions include selected portraits, including ones by George Vertue, and topographical views, several groups of prints known as the Cries of London (both those by Marcellus Laroon and those by Paul Sandby), and a selection of ephemera: trade cards, advertisements, invitations, and bookplates, ballads and broadsides, and many playbills from Londona and regional British theatres.

For more information about the Digital Images Collection, its contents, and help with searching, click here.

To go to the Digital Images Collection, click here.

The Library's blog on which new acquisitions of rare materials are announced. Subscribe via rss feed to be kept up to date on the latest arrivals.

To go to the Recent Antiquarian Acquisitions blog, click here.

The database will include a record of all of the art and artifacts from Horace Walpole's collections, some of which are now in the Lewis Walpole Library's collections. Images, descriptions, provenance information as well as the former locations of the pieces within Strawberry Hill are included.

To go to Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Collection, click here.

Plans are in place to digitize and add more materials on an ongoing basis.

{back to top}

Related Links