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Courtauld Institute of Art

FINBERG, Alexander Joseph (1866-1939)


Reference code(s): GB 1518 CI/AJF

Held at: Courtauld Institute of Art

Title: FINBERG, Alexander Joseph (1866-1939)

Date(s): 1902-1915

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 1 metre

Name of creator(s): Finberg | Alexander Joseph | 1866-1939 | art critic and historian


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in London, 1866; educated at the City of London College, and King's College London; studied art at the Lambeth School of Art and in Paris; worked for the Graphic and Illustrated London News, and as art critic for several papers including the Manchester Guardian and the Saturday Review; commissioned by the Trustees of the National Gallery to complete the arrangement and inventory of the Turner bequest, begun by John Ruskin, 1905; brought to light a large number of unknown paintings by Turner, which led to their exhibition at the Tate, 1906, and the building of the new Turner Gallery by Sir Joseph Duveen; founded the Walpole Society, to encourage the study and promotion of British art, 1911; Honorary Secretary and Editor of the Walpole Society, 1911-1922; Art Adviser to the Board of Inland Revenue for picture valuations, 1914-1919; Lecturer on the History of Painting to the Education Committee of London County Council, and the University of London; died 1939.
Publications: The English Water Colour Painters (1906); Drawings of David Cox (George Newnes, London, Charles Schribner's Sons, New York, [1906]); A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest 2 vols, (Stationery Office, London, 1909); Ingres (1910); The Turner Drawings in the National Gallery, London (no publication details); Turner's Sketches and Drawings...With 100 illustrations (1910); Turner's Water-Colours at Farnley Hall ("The Studio", London, 1912); Some Reflections on the Art Editor and the Illustrator (London, 1912); The Development of British Landscape Painting in Water-Colours edited by Charles Holme, with text by A J Finberg and E A Taylor ("The Studio", London, 1918); Early English Water-Colour Drawings by the Great Masters edited by Geoffrey Holme, with articles by A J Finberg ("The Studio", London, 1919); Notes on four Pencil Drawings of J M W Turner (Chiswick Press, London, 1921); The First Exhibition of the New Society of Graphic Art (Alexander Moring, London, 1921); The History of Turner's Liber Studiorum. With a new catalogue raisonné (Ernest Benn, London, 1924); Modern Painters. Abridged & edited by A J Finberg by John Ruskin (G Bell and Sons, London, 1927); An Introduction to Turner's Southern Coast (Cotswold Gallery, London,1929); In Venice with Turner (Cotswold Gallery, London, 1930); The Life of J M W Turner, RA (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1939).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Alexander Joseph Finberg, 1902-1915, comprising albums of newpaper cuttings, 1902-1920, relating to Finberg's own columns, 1902-1915, and the art world in general, 1903-1912.


Language/scripts of material: English.

System of arrangement:

Arranged in two series as outlined above.

Conditions governing access:

Initial applications should be made to the Deputy Librarian, Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R ORN. At least one week's notice is generally required for access to archival material.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Material may be photocopied subject to the approval of the Librarian or Archivist, and provided it does not breach the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1988.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

A detailed catalogue is available in the Courtauld Institute Library.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Letters to Dugald Sutherland MacColl, 1906-1918, held at Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department (ref: Art History Papers 1850-1950); correspondence with Thomas Sturge Moore, 1902-1935, held at London University Library (ref: Sturge Moore); correspondence with Edward Rimbault Dibdin and Miscellanea, 1915-1919, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Art Library.

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 1995); Courtauld Institute of Art catalogue; British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue; National Register of Archives. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions: General International Standard Archival Description (2nd edition); National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Apr 2000

Art criticism | Art theory | Arts
Art history | Art theory | Arts
Press cuttings | Newspaper press | Press

Personal names
Finberg | Alexander Joseph | 1866-1939 | art critic and historian

Corporate names