Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Ellis Kirkham Waterhouse notebooks and
Date (inclusive): 1801-1987
Date (bulk): ca. 1924-ca. 1979
Collection number: 870204
Waterhouse, Ellis Kirkham, 1905-1985
15 linear feet
Getty Research Institute
Special Collections and Visual Resources
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
Abstract: The archive documents the scholarly career of Ellis Waterhouse, art historian and museum director. A major part of the archive
consists of notebooks, maintained from 1924 until his death in 1985, in which he recorded paintings seen in private and public
collections. The remainder of the papers are research materials
on various subjects within art and architecture, manuscripts of lectures, notes on sales, and reviews by Waterhouse and others.
Language: Collection material in English
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Ellis Kirkham Waterhouse notebooks and research files, 1801-1987, bulk ca. 1924-ca. 1979, Getty Research Institute, Research
Library, Accession no. 870204.
Acquired in 1986 and 1987 as part of the Waterhouse library.
The notebooks are on deposit from the Getty's Provenance Index. The collection was transferred from the Library and moved
from Accession no. 860278, 860386, and 870611. Initial processing was done upon acquisition. Hillary Brown completed the processing
in 1996 and wrote this finding aid in May 1997. Clippings, mss., and printed matter about David Garrick sales, from auction
catalogue (1823 Apr.23 LoSaG), added to archive, Box 14, f. 11, June 2006. Box 35 added to the archive 2006 Nov 14, with two
annotated auction sales catalogues: John Allnutt pictures (1863), and William Beckford sales (1822).
Alternate Form Available
Waterhouse's notebooks are available on microfiche.
The papers are part of a vast collection of materials acquired from the Waterhouse estate by the Getty, and complement the
Waterhouse library, now part of the Getty Research Institute Library.
The photographs from the Waterhouse collection complement the archival papers and are available as an intact collection within
the repository's Photo Study Collection, accession no. 86.P.6.
Ellis Kirkham Waterhouse was distinguished as both a scholar and a museum director. Waterhouse began studying art history
when the subject was not yet taught at Oxford, his alma mater, and by the end of his career was a major figure among British
art historians. Waterhouse's legacies to British art historical studies are his pioneering research in the areas of 18th century
British painting and the Italian Baroque, his exacting methods of provenance studies and connoisseurship, and his passion
for creating well organized and endowed scholarly libraries.
Ellis Kirkham Waterhouse was born in Epsom, Surrey in 1905. He received his education at the Marlborough School, where he
was a classmate of Anthony Blunt, and New College, Oxford, where he studied Classics, modern languages, and history. In 1924,
Waterhouse began keeping notebooks in which he recorded art works seen in public and private collections. These notebooks
became a major reference source for his later exhibits and publications, and important documents for provenance studies.
After Oxford, Waterhouse was appointed Commonwealth Fund Fellow at Princeton University from 1927-1929, and he earned a Masters
for his work on El Greco under the guidance of Professor Frank Jewett Mather, Jr. His first major publication was a ground-breaking
article on El Greco's Italian period, published in
Art Studies in 1930. This was intended as a prelude to a full-length study on El Greco, which was never completed.
From 1929 to 1933, Waterhouse served as Assistant Keeper at the National Gallery in London, where he was a colleague of Martin
Davis. While at the National Gallery, Waterhouse wrote a catalog of Italian paintings in the museum and began a much-needed
reorganization of the library. In 1933, he accepted the post of librarian at the British school in Rome. His research in Rome
resulted in the publication of
Baroque Painting in Rome in 1937, a work which owed much to the methods of Bernard Berenson.
Upon his return to Britain, Waterhouse organized an exhibit of seventeenth-century painting in Europe at the Royal Academy.
Waterhouse's study of works in British public and private collections identified many paintings for this exhibit, most of
which were loaned by British holders. In 1938, Waterhouse became a fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. While there he published
Reynolds in 1941.
Waterhouse was in Greece when World War II broke out, and he served in the British army in Greece and Egypt. He was awarded
an MBE in 1943. In 1945, he served as a Monuments Officer in the Monuments and Fine Arts Commission in Holland and Germany,
where he was instrumental in tracking down stolen art and recognizing the forged Vermeers by Hans Van Meegerin.
After the war, Waterhouse served briefly as editor of the
Burlington Magazine in 1946, and in 1947 he went to the University of Manchester as a Reader in Art History. In 1949, Waterhouse married Helen
Thomas, a distinguished archaeologist and daughter of an Oxford professor. The same year, Waterhouse became Director of the
National Galleries of Scotland. During his three year tenure, Waterhouse wrote
Painting in Britain, 1530 to 1790 in the Pelican History of Art series.
A life-long foe of bureaucracy, the civil service, and, especially, museum trustees, Waterhouse finally found a post which
suited his temperament. In 1952 he was appointed Barber Professor of Fine Arts and Director of the Barber Institute in the
University of Birmingham. During his 18 years at the Barber Institute, his purchases transformed the museum into one of Britain's
most distinguished small museums, he built up the school's book and slide libraries, and he published a monograph on Gainsborough
Italian Baroque Painting (1964), and the catalogue of the paintings at Waddesdon Manor (1967).
During his tenure at the Barber Institute, Waterhouse was Slade Professor at Oxford in 1953-1955 and Clark Visiting Professor
at Williams College, Massachusetts, 1962-1963. Upon his retirement from the Barber Institute in 1970, Waterhouse became the
first director of the Paul Mellon Center for British Art in London. Later he was Kress Professor in Residence at the National
Gallery of Art in Washington, 1974-1975, advisor to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1975-1977, visiting lecturer at
Bristol University, and advisor to the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Waterhouse was knighted in 1975. He died at his home in Oxford in September, 1985.
Scope and Content of Collection
This archive documents Waterhouse's scholarly career. A major part
of the archive consists of notebooks, maintained from 1924 until his
death in 1985, in which he recorded paintings seen in private and
public collections. The remainder of the papers are research materials
on various subjects within art and architecture, including manuscripts of lectures and reviews by Waterhouse, and others.
Included are photocopies of diaries (1852-1857), possibly the diaries of Sir Charles Eastlake (1793-1865) former Director
of the National Gallery, London.
The archive is part of a vast collection of
materials acquired from the Waterhouse estate by the Getty, and
complements the Waterhouse library, now part of the Getty Center
Library. The notebooks are on deposit from the Provenance Index of the
Missing from the collection are papers relating to Waterhouse's
career at the Barber Institute. The correspondence within the research
files is primarily professional. There are a few personal items, such
as photographs of Waterhouse's family.
Media in the collection includes holograph and typescript
manuscripts, photographs, printed material, drawings, press clippings,
Photostats and microfiche.
Eastlake, Charles Lock, Sir, 1793-1865
Gainsborough, Thomas, 1727-1788
Garrick, David, 1717-1779—Art collections
Reynolds, Joshua, Sir, 1723-1792
Architecture, Domestic—Great Britain
Collectors and collecting
France—Description and travel
Germany—Description and travel
Great Britain—Description and travel
Italy—Description and travel
Netherlands—Description and travel
Spain—Description and travel
Genres and Forms of Material
Eastlake, Charles Lock, Sir, 1793-1865
"El Greco's Italian Period,"
Catalogue of an exhibition of the works of some
neglected English masters, c.1750-c. 1830
. London: Burlington
Fine Arts Club, 1932 [exhibition catalogue].
Baroque painting in Rome: the seventeenth century.
London: Macmillan & Co., 1937 (revised 1976).
Italian Baroque Painting. London: Royal
Society of Arts, 1937 [Cantor lecture, published as a pamphlet].
Reynolds. London: Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner
& Co., 1941.
An exhibition of portraits and drawings by Allen
, 1713-1784. Edinburgh, 1949 [exhibition catalogue].
Catalogue of an exhibition of paintings and silver
from Woburn Abbey: lent by the duke of Bedford
. London: The
Arts Council, 1950 [exhibition catalogue].
Paintings from Woburn Abbey: lent by the duke of
. London: The Arts Council, 1950 [exhibition
Catalogue of an exhibition of Spanish painting from
El Greco to Goya
. Edinburgh: National Gallery of Scotland,
1951 [exhibition catalogue].
Titian's Diana and Actaeon. London: Oxford
University Press, 1952 [Charlton lecture on art].
Thomas Gainsborough, 1727-1788. London: The
Arts Council of Great Britain, 1953 [exhibition catalogue].
Painting in Britain, 1530-1730. London:
Penguin Books, 1953.
The British contribution to the neo-classical style
. London, 1955.
The Robinson Collection: paintings from the
collection of the late Sir J. B. Robinson, Bt., lent by Princess Labia
London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1958 [exhibition catalogue].
Gainsborough. London: E. Hulton, 1958.
The collection of pictures in Helmingham Hall.
Helmingham Hall, 1958.
Some Paintings from the Bowes Museum. London:
Arts Council, 1959.
Johann Zoffany. London: The Arts Council of
Great Britain, 1960 [exhibition catalogue].
Italian Baroque Painting. London: Phaidon,
Three Decades of British Art, 1740-1770.
Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1965.
Paintings. London: National Trust, 1967
[catalogue of paintings at Waddesdon Manor].
Reynolds. New York: Phaidon, 1973.
Giorgione. Glasgow: University of Glasgow
Martin Davis. London: The British Academy,
Roman baroque painting: a list of the principal
painters and their works in and around Rome
. Oxford: Phaidon,
Anthony van Dyck: suffer the little children to come
. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1978.
British art and British studies: remarks at the
inauguration of the Yale Center for British Art
. New Haven,
CT: Yale Center for British Art, 1979.
Edi Baccheschi, with introduction by Waterhouse.
Greco, the complete paintings
. London, 1980.
The dictionary of British 18th century painters in
oils and crayons
. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 1981.