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Benjamin Robert Haydon Clipping Book

Call Number: MS 305


Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1786-1846, was an English historical painter and author. This clipping book contains items from the first half of the 19th century, including printed reviews of Haydon's art works, printed essays and letters to the editor by Haydon, letters to Haydon, and handwritten copies of quotations and verse.


  • 1813 - 1846


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Benjamin Robert Haydon

Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), an English historical painter and author, was a studious child who had an immediate affinity for art but was not encouraged by his family to pursue this interest. He persevered and began solitary studies and eventually became a student at the Royal Academy. He thought one of his early paintings wasn't displayed to advantage by the Royal Academy, and thus his life-long struggles with the Royal Academy began. To counter the Academy, he sought to have the government support artists and encourage the study of art for all.

In 1808, Haydon began his diary (currently housed at Harvard University), which is infamous for its candidness in revealing his idiosyncrasies. He kept up his diary until the day of his death.

Many of Haydon's paintings were religious: Joseph and Mary Resting on the Road to Egypt, The Judgement of Solomon, Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, and The Raising of Lazarus; but he also painted portraits as well as paintings with political themes, such as The Mock Election and The Meeting of the Unions on Newhall Hill, Birmingham. Denatus and Marcus Curtius Leaping into the Gulf are examples of his work with a Roman theme. He was particularly interested in attaining accuracy in anatomy and the appropriate dress of his subjects.

Haydon was active in civic, social and artistic circles. He was well acquainted with literary figures of the day including John Keats, William Wordsworth, Charles Lamb, and William Hazlitt and included their likenesses, as well as those of others he knew, in his paintings. Haydon also went on tours to deliver lectures on art.

Lack of income was usually a concern to Haydon and his family and led to many difficulties, including several imprisonments for debt. Many of his friends, including the Leigh brothers, tried to help him financially.

In the end, with his debts overwhelming him, he took his own life after making a final entry in his diary.


.25 linear foot (1 document case)

Scope and Contents

Most of the items in this clipping book concern Haydon, are authored by him, or are addressed to him. Some of the material is addressed to "Haviland, Bridgewarter, Somerset," which is where Haydon's only sister, Harriett Cobley Haydon Haviland (1789-1884), lived. Since additions are made to the clipping book after Haydon's death, it is possible that his sister compiled this book from items sent to her by Haydon as well as material she had access to herself.

Printed matter, such as reviews and critiques of Haydon's exhibitions and paintings 1814-1846, and letters to the editor and essays by Haydon in support of art and artists, take up most of the book.

There are also letters (and copies of letters) from admirers as well as handwritten copies of quotations and verses. Letters and notes come from, Anne D. B. Montagu, J. G. Seymour, Josiah Copley, J. R. Planchez, George Birkbeck, Lady Graham, and The Marquis of Chandos. One of the letters and a poem are by William Wordsworth but are not in his hand.

Physical Location

MS 305

Other Finding Aids

A table listing the items in the Benjamin Robert Haydon Clipping Book is available both at the front of the box and at this pdf: For each item in the clipping book, the date, headline or first line, publication, work of Haydon's discussed and notes are listed if known.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown, acquired before 1961.

Related Materials

Spencer Library also houses these printed materials by Benjamin Robert Haydon:

Haydon, Benjamin Robert, Description of Mr. Haydon's Picture of Christ's Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, 1820, at call number Brodie 82/5.

Haydon, Benjamin Robert and William Hazlitt, Painting, and the Fine Arts: being the articles under those heads contributed to the seventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1838, at call number C752.


The University of Kansas Libraries' Art and Architecture Library houses these printed volumes of Benjamin Robert Haydon's diary:
  • Haydon, Benjamin Robert, 1786-1846, and Willard Bissell Pope. Diary. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960-
  • Haydon, Benjamin Robert, 1786-1846, and John Jolliffe. Neglected genius : the diaries of Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1808-1846. London: Hutchinson, 1990.

Processing Information

Since gatherings in the binding of the clipping book were coming loose, a preservation decision was made to remove the gatherings and place them in folders. The binding is also housed in a folder. Page numbers, which are noted in pencil, were supplied some time in the past. Volume was previously shelved at MS D42.

Guide to the Benjamin Robert Haydon Collection
Benjamin Robert Haydon Clipping Book
Finding aid prepared by alh, mab, 2012. Finding aid encoded by mab, 2012.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Benjamin Robert Haydon Clipping Book, MS 305, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States