Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Rivière, Briton, 1840-1920
Briton Rivière Family Correspondence
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1853-1910 (mostly 1872-1901)
1 box
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box B-001339


Consists of letters to Briton Rivière (1840-1920), the Victorian artist and illustrator, and to his family members, including from many contemporary artists and writers.

Collection Description & Creator Information


Consists of a collection of over one hundred letters, primarily to Briton Rivière (1840-1920), the Victorian artist and illustrator, and to his family members, as well as some letters to others. One notable item is a 1872 letter by Charles Darwin relating to Rivière's illustration of two dogs for Darwin's The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). Members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and other Victorian artists and writers figure prominently among the correspondents, who include Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Edward Burne-Jones, Arthur Conan-Doyle, Frank Dicksee, Alfred Gilbert, Edmund Gosse, Anstey Guthrie, William Holman Hunt, George Dunlop Leslie, Frederick Lewis, Robert Walker Macbeth, John Everett Millais, George du Maurier, Edward Onslow-Ford, Edward Poynter, Linley Sambourne, John Singer Sargent, Herbert Spencer, John William Waterhouse, and others. Letters pertain to both personal and professional matters and are sometimes decorated with sketches and drawings. The collection sheds light on artistic cooperation, philanthropy, and friendship among a circle of predominantly English writers and artists in the late 19th century.


Letters are arranged alphabetically by the name of the sender, with some miscellaneous letters and other material at the end.

Collection Creator Biography:

Rivière, Briton, 1840-1920

Briton Rivière (1840-1920) was a British artist and illustrator best known for his paintings of animals. Born into a family of artists, Rivière went on to study art with his father, William Rivière (1806–1876), at the Cheltenham School, and later, at Oxford University. He became associated with members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the early 1860s and made friends with many Victorian artists and writers.

Collection History


Purchased from Maggs Bros Ltd. in 2019 (AM 2020-9).

Custodial History

This collection of letters was passed down through the Rivière family via Briton Rivière's daughter, Theodora (Theo) Rivière, and her descendants.


No materials were removed from the collection during 2019 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in September 2019. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in September 2019.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Open 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:

Briton Rivière Family Correspondence; 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 (scamss): Box B-001339