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Collection Overview

Tebbs, H. V. (Henry Virtue)
H. V. Tebbs Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Photographs
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1866-1897 (mostly 1866-1868)
3 boxes and 5.75 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1-3


Consists of 76 cards of mounted photographs of drawings and paintings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his wife Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall, and a few other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. The group seems to have been put together by or for Henry Virtue Tebbs, lawyer and patron of the arts: he was a close friend and admirer of Rossetti.

Collection Description & Creator Information


Consists of a collection of mounted photographs of drawings and paintings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his wife Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall, and a few other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, put together for or by Henry Virtue Tebbs. Many of the mounts have been inscribed by Rossetti himself –- most importantly, items 1-18, the photographic portfolio of his late wife's drawings, but also a good number of the "detached" photographs. One is inscribed by Rossetti to Tebbs's wife Emily, and the letter which accompanied the gift is printed by Fredeman (see item 36 below). In addition, many of the mounts are inscribed in pencil with Tebbs's name, sometimes with reference to other collectors of the time such as Charles Fairfax Murray. It is perhaps no coincidence that a number of the originals of these photographs were owned at one point by Fairfax Murray himself. A photograph of a well-bearded man also in this collection (item 76) may be of Tebbs.

Some mounts have been signed by William Michael Rossetti, but this does not mean that he owned them –- he was in effect the family authenticator as well as the family archivist, and it is likely that he signed them to indicate that they had been authorized by the family.

A number of the photographs bear the stamp of Frederick Hollyer, the art photographer. He was well known for specializing in the reproduction of drawings and paintings; and many of those which do not bear his stamp may also be by him.


Organized into the following groups of photographs:

Collection Creator Biography:

Tebbs, H. V. (Henry Virtue)

Henry Virtue Tebbs was a close friend and admirer of Rossetti, and many letters to him and his wife Emily are recorded among Rossetti's correspondence. He bought works by Rossetti, promoted his work, and after his death wrote the preface to the 1883 exhibition of Rossetti at the Burlington Fine Arts Club. His intimacy with the artist was such that he was among a very few to be present at the disinterment of Rossetti's wife, Elizabeth Siddall, in 1869 when he wished to rescue the manuscript volume of poems which he had buried with her. Violet Hunt ( Wife of Rossetti, 1932, p. xxiv) states that Tebbs wrote an account of the event.

Collection History


The Tebbses had two daughters, who did not marry, and they bequeathed a number of works of art to the Tate Gallery and to the Ashmolean on their deaths in the middle of the last century. The present collection must have become detached from the main collection, perhaps at about that time. It was purchased in April 2005 .


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by John Delaney in April 2005. The finding aid is based on earlier work done by Christopher Edwards in 2005.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

H. V. Tebbs Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Photographs; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1-3

Find More

Related Materials

Interested researchers also may want to consult these other Princeton Rossetti collections: Janet Camp Troxell Collection of Rossetti Manuscripts, 1832-1965 (C0189) and the Dante Gabriel Rossetti collection, 1849-1881 (C0185).


Abbreviations used in this finding aid: Allingham 1907: William Allingham. A Diary, ed. H. Allingham &D. Radford (1907) Fredeman 2004: Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, ed. W. Fredeman, vol. IV (2004) Marsh 1989: Jan Marsh. The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal (1989) Marsh 1991: Jan Marsh. Elizabeth Siddal, Pre-Raphaelite Artist: catalogue of an exhibition at the Ruskin Gallery, Sheffield, 1991 Surtees 1971: V. Surtees. Paintings and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Oxford, 1971)

Subject Terms:
Genre Terms:
Hollyer, Frederick, 1837-1933
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 1828-1882.
Siddall, Elizabeth