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

Scope and Contents

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 copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

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