Album of drawings by William and Alfred Derby, circa 1835-42
72 pencil, pen and ink drawings by the miniaturist William Derby and his son Alfred Thomas after portraits in various collections including Knowsley Hall, Woburn Abbey, Wentworth Castle and Hamilton Palace. The drawings were squared for transfer preparatory to the production of miniature copies or engravings, and the majority are dated between 1835 and 1842. Many of the drawings have been annotated with the name of the sitter, either by the Derbys, or in some cases a later hand. The artists seem not to have been related to the Earls of Derby, but after producing illustrations for Edmund Lodge's Portraits of Illustrious Personages of Great Britain, William Derby was commissioned to produce watercolour copies of existing portraits of the family, ranging from the 15th through 19th centuries. From 1838 Alfred Thomas assisted his father in this work after the elder Derby suffered a stroke. Sir George Scharf selected this set of sketches from the collection of drawings in the possession of Charles H. Derby, son of William Derby and brother of Alfred Thomas and purchased them in 1893. The drawings were indexed and pasted into an album at the point that they entered the Archive collection.