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John Pope-Hennessy papers, 1617-1995, bulk 1930-1995

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Pope-Hennessy (John) Papers

Scope and Content of Collection

The John Pope-Hennessy papers document Pope-Hennessy's curatorial and administrative work, his scholarly research as an expert on Italian Renaissance sculpture and painting, and his family background. The bulk of the archive consists of Pope-Hennessy's research materials, manuscripts of published and unpublished works, correspondence, and museum files related to his work at the Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. Papers from the Pope-Hennessy family include correspondence, manuscripts, articles, of Pope-Hennessys' parents, Ladislas and Una, and of his brother, James.

Series I consists of Pope-Hennessy's personal and professional correspondence. Included is correspondence with Pope-Hennessy's parents and his brother, letters from art historians Everett Fahy, Bernard Berenson, essayist and critic Logan Pearsall Smith, and music critic Andrew Porter. The series informs Pope-Hennessy's intellectual development, the influence of his family on his scholarly interests, and his opinions on lectures, conferences, and colleagues. Congratulatory correspondence for his museum appointments and knighthood and condolence letters after his brother James's death shed light on important events in Pope-Hennessy's life.

Series II documents Pope-Hennessy's scholarly work. Included in this series are manuscripts of publications such as Cellini (1985) and Donatello (1993) and unpublished works such as "Matteo di Giovanni" and "Iconography of Sir Walter Scott." The bulk of the manuscript files are drafts for his autobiography, Learning to Look (1991). A large portion of this series contains drafts of lectures and essays, some of which were worked into his published and unpublished books. His eulogy for art historian Kenneth Clark's memorial service can be found among his speeches and addresses. Also included are clippings of his influential articles from 1932 to 1995, press clippings and reviews of his publications.

Series III. Professional consultations consists of correspondence with art collectors, dealers, institutions, and galleries who seek Pope-Hennessy's opinions regarding attributions of artworks, states of conservation, and collecting. A portion of the correspondence is illustrated with photographs, slides and transparencies of artwork.

Series IV. Museum files documents Pope-Hennessy's position as director of the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1967 to 1973 and the British Museum from 1974 to 1976, and as Consultative Chairman of the Department of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The series also contains teaching files from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

Series V. Study photographs, a large portion of the archive, contains Pope-Hennessy's photographs, primarily of Italian sculpture and painting, German and Dutch paintings, photographs of the works in the collections of Thyssen-Bornemisza and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and photographs of drawings and paintings related to Pope-Hennessy's publications on Raphael and Fra Angelico. The bulk of the photographs are black and white, but also included are color prints, slides, transparencies, negatives, and Polaroids.

Personal papers from Pope-Hennessy's childhood and adult years can be found in Series VI. Included are personal documents such as his birth certificate and passports from 1945 to 1995, yearly pocket agendas from 1946 to 1994, and papers and photographs related to his personal art collection.

The Pope-Hennessy family papers in Series VII form a large portion of the archive and document Pope-Hennessy's prominent family and its illustrious members, including Pope-Hennessy's father, Ladislaus Herbert Richard, his mother, Dame Una Constance, his brother, James, and his grandfather, Sir John Pope-Hennessy. The series contains correspondence that reveals Ladislaus's political involvement with the Irish Dominion, the extent of Una's scholarly influence on her two sons, James's travels and literary work, and John's colonial service as governor. The series includes drafts of works by Una and James Pope-Hennessy, including Una's Charles Dickens (1945) and "Lady Gregory and Yeats" (unpublished) and James's Queen Mary (1959) and Sins of the Fathers: A Study of the Atlantic Slave Traders, 1441-1807 (1967). The series also includes letters from family friends, such as Bertrand Russell, Logan Pearsall Smith, and Cecil Beaton.


Arranged in seven series:
Series I. Correspondence, 1914-1994;
Series II. Writings and notes, 1932-1995;
Series III. Professional consultations, 1944-1994;
Series IV. Museum files, 1946-1987;
Series V. Study photographs, 1930-1994;
Series VI. Personal papers, 1913-1995;
Series VII. Pope-Hennessy family papers, 1617-1995.

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