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Queen Mary, University of London

MARTIN, John (1789-1854)


Reference code(s): GB 0370 JM

Held at: Queen Mary, University of London

Title: MARTIN, John (1789-1854)

Date(s): 1822-1976

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 1 box

Name of creator(s): Martin | John | 1789-1854 | painter


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, Haydon Bridge, Northumberland, 1789; apprenticed to a Newcastle coach-painter, 1804; ran away after a dispute over wages; apprenticed to a Newcastle china-painter, Boniface Musso; moved to London and supported himself painting on china and glass whilst studying perspective and architecture; sent the Royal Academy his first pictures, 1812; became an opponent of the Royal Academy after becoming aggrieved over the hanging of his pictures in 1814 and 1816, but continued to contribute to their exhibitions; appointed historical painter to Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, 1817; exhibited at the British Institution, 1819-1821, including 'Belshazzar's Feast'; joined the Royal Society of British Artists on its foundation and exhibited there, 1824-1831,1837-1838; exhibited 'The Fall of Nineveh' at Brussels, 1833, bought by the Belgian government; elected a member of the Belgian Academy and awarded the order of Leopold by the King of Belgium; quarrelled with the British Institution, 1836; exhibited many works at the Royal Academy, 1837-1852, including many landscapes in water-colours; drew illustrations (with Westall) to Milton's Paradise Lost; worked on plans for improving London, including water supply and recycling of sewerage, 1827-1853; died, 1854.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of and relating to John Martin, 1822-1976, comprising his letters, 1822-1853, relating to exhibitions of his work at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London, 1822, Society of British Artists, 1833, prices of his pictures, improvement schemes for London, to various correspondents including William Bullock, Sir Henry George Grey, John Thomas Smith, Sir Charles Wheatstone, John Prescott Knight, Edward William Cooke, William Jerdon; prints of paintings and mezzotints by Martin, [1829-1844], portraits of John Martin, [1822, 1832]; review of an exhibition of his work from the Times, 1970; exhibition catalogue, 1976.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Conditions governing access:

The Archives are available for access in the Archives Reading Room located on the 2nd Floor of the Mile End Library. The Archives Reading Room is open Mondays to Fridays 9am-4pm by appointment only. Contact the Archives for more information: Archives, Main Library QMUL, 328 Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 3873, email: For more information about the Archives see the website:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopying at the discretion of the Archivist. Applications for copies for research or publication should be made to the Archivist: Main Library QMUL, 328 Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 7873, email:

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

A draft list of the correspondence is available at the Library.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired by Westfield College.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:

John Martin Thomas Balston (Gerald Duckworth and Co Ltd, 1947); The Art of John Martin William Feaver (Clarendon Press, 1975); John Martin, Painter Mary L Pendered (Hunt and Blackett, 1923).



Archivist's note: Sources: Dictionary of National Biography CD-ROM (Oxford University Press, 1995); Historical Manuscripts Commission On-line National Register of Archives; British Library Public Catalogue On-line. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: May 2001

Illustrations | Visual materials
Sanitation | Environmental engineering
Urban planning | Urban development
Town and country planning

Personal names
Bullock | William | fl 1808-1827 | antiquary and naturalist
Cooke | Edward William | 1811-1880 | marine painter
Grey | Henry George | 1802-1894 | 3rd Earl Grey | statesman x Grey | 3rd Earl
Jerdan | William | 1782-1869 | journalist and antiquary
Knight | John Prescott | 1803-1881 | painter
Smith | John Thomas | 1766-1833 | topographical draughtsman and antiquary
Wheatstone | Sir | Charles | 1802-1875 | Knight | physicist

Corporate names
Society of British Artists

Piccadilly | Westminster | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
City of Westminster