Home  / HAS

Charles Hamilton Smith collection of monumental effigies

Reference code
Charles Hamilton Smith collection of monumental effigies
19th century
Level of description
Extent and format
Large quarto, sometimes used as oblong quarto. Unbound. Two grey boxes.
Scope and content
A large number of drawings relating mostly to monumental effigies compiled by Charles Hamilton Smith, FRS (1776-1859), soldier, archaeologist and artist. The drawings, mostly colour wash, with descriptive texts, are mainly of monumental effigies and other memorials of the feudal ages; to these the compiler added sarcophagi and other early monuments, and figures from stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, seals, etc. The collection was made in order to illustrate the history of costume, military, ecclesiastical and civil. The figures are depicted in restored form, not as found (see introductory text in Box 1). The drawings were made on visits to a 'vast number' of churches and museums in England, France and Germany, and supplemented by drawings of effigies made in remote spots, or derived from the sketchbooks of friends (ibid.).

Two boxes containing five sections:- I. Introductory text. Ancient monuments (Babylonian, Etruscan, Egyptian, Roman, etc.) and early medieval (Merovingian, Carolingian, early German Emperors, early medieval English);- II. Mostly English kings, knights, etc., 1100-1300;- III. Mostly English, 1300-95;- IV. Mostly English, 1400-95;- V. Mostly English, 15th century-17th century and miscellaneous earlier.

C. Hamilton Smith published Selections of Ancient Costume of Great Britain and Ireland, Seventh to Sixteenth Century (1814); Costume of Original Inhabitants of the British Islands to the sixth century (with S. R. Meyrick, 1815). He retired from the army in 1820 and devoted himself to history, zoology and archaeology. See DNB. He left twenty volumes of MS notes and thousands of watercolours; many of the MSS are in the library of the Plymouth Institution, whose Trans. (1830), 255-88, give an account of his collection of drawings.
Smith, Charles Hamilton (1776-1859), soldier, naturalist and antiquary
Previous reference number(s)
System of arrangement
The arrangement is mostly chronological.