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Record NGA2/2

Archive reference number NGA2/2
Title

Ralph N Wornum's Publications

Date 1838-1852
Description

Wornum gradually achieved recognition as an important contributor to art journals, encyclopaedias and biographical dictionaries. From 1840 he contributed to the 'Penny Cyclopedia' and in 1841 to Smith's 'Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities' (to which he furnished the valuable article 'Pictura') and he also wrote for the short-lived 'Biographical Dictionary' of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. In 1846 he began working for the 'Art Journal'. In the same year having drawn attention to the shortcomings of the National Gallery catalogues then in circulation, he was authorised by Sir Robert Peel to compile an official catalogue. This appeared in 1847, and served "as a model for similar publications throughout Europe". In 1848 Wornum was appointed as lecturer on art for the Government Schools of Design lecturing in various towns throughout England. He published 'Essay upon the Schools of Design in France'. In 1851 he was awarded the prize of a hundred Guineas offered by the 'Art Journal' for the best essay on 'The Exhibition of 1851 as a Lesson in Taste'. The following year he was appointed librarian and Keeper of Casts to the Schools of Design, then under the direction of the Board of Trade. During 1852 he visited art schools in Paris and Lyon. In 1861 he edited, 'The Turner Gallery' forming a series of sixty engravings. In 1867 Wornum published his most important work; 'Some Account of the Life and Works of Hans Holbein, Painter of Augsburg with numerous illustrations' which he dedicated to his friend John Ruskin. It included a catalogue of portraits and drawings by Holbein held in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. It was in this book that Wornum correctly supported the authenticity of the Basle version of Holbein's 'Virgin and Child' (the Meier Madonna) against the well-known Dresden copy which Sir Charles Eastlake (among others) had accepted. This was Wornum's great triumph as a connoisseur. Wornum also wrote a pamphlet on the Meier Madonna which was published by the Arundel Society in 1871.

This sub-fonds Includes manuscript drafts and proofs for publications, notebooks, signed and annotated publications, articles and details of lectures, correspondence with publishers, press cuttings and papers relating to the Government Schools of Design.

Record type Series
Alternative reference numbers NG32/21-51

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