Collection RBSC-ARC-1709 - Chester & Roberts Arthur Hughes Collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Chester & Roberts Arthur Hughes Collection

General material designation

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the collection.

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


Physical description area

Physical description

18 cm of textual records and other material.

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Arthur Hughes was born in London on 27 January 1832, to Edward and Amy Hughes. He entered Archbishop Tenison's Grammar School in about 1838, and while there displayed an early talent for drawing; in 1846 he entered the School of Design, Somerset House where he studied under Alfred Stevens. In 1847 he enrolled in the Antique Schools at the Royal Academy, winning a silver medal in 1849 for a drawing from the Antique, and in that same year exhibited his first finished painting, Musidora, at the Royal Academy.

1850 was the most important year of his life: he first discovered Pre-Raphaelitism by reading the Germ; he met Tryphena Foord, his future wife and mother of his six children; and met Alexander Munro, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Ford Madox Brown, thenceforward being converted to their cause. In 1852 he sent (c.1851-53, City of Manchester Art Galleries) to the Royal Academy, and the following year began Orlando, which during the next six years evolved into The Long Engagement. In 1856 Hughes exhibited two of his best paintings at the Royal Academy, The Eve of St. Agnes and April Love, the latter being purchased from the exhibition by William Morris. In 1857 he joined with Rossetti, Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and others in painting murals on the walls of the Oxford Union Debating Hall (now the Library), an effort which perhaps inspired his later Arthurian works such as The Knight of the Sun and Sir Galahad. Another well-known painting, Home from Sea (1856-63, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), was begun at Chingford, Essex in 1856, but not completed until 1862-63 when the figure of the girl, modelled by Tryphena, was added.

As well as being the best of the younger Pre-Raphaelite followers, Hughes was one of the leading book illustrators of the 'Sixties' school, producing drawings for Tennyson's Enoch Arden, Thomas Hughes's (no relation) Tom Brown's School Days, George MacDonald's "At the Back of the North Wind" & "The Princess and the Goblin," and Christina Rossetti's Sing-Song.

Hughes's only official post was Art Examiner in the South Kensington Schools, although he taught from January to August 1877 at the Working Men's College. In 1912 he was awarded a Civil List Pension, and on 23 December 1915 he died in Kew Green, London, having produced approximately 700 known paintings & drawings and 750 book illustrations during his lifetime.

Biographical information provided by Leonard Roberts (

Custodial history

Collection was donated to UBC Library in October 2013 by Vancouver rare books and manuscript dealer Leonard (Len) Roberts, who is the author of Arthur Hughes, his Life and Works: a Catalogue Raisonné. Mr. Roberts was aided in his research on Hughes and the production of the catalogue raisonné by Major John Greville Bagot Chester (1925-2011), who was a descendent of Hughes. Maj. Chester acquired the Susan Lushington letters at Sotheby's auction, and entrusted them to Mr. Roberts.

Scope and content

Collection consists of historical material regarding the Pre-Raphaelite artist and illustrator Arthur Hughes collected by Leonard Roberts and Maj. Greville Chester. The collection includes a large body of correspondence from Arthur Hughes to Susan Lushington, a variety of letters to other correspondents, 9 photographs of Hughes and his wife and daughters, examples of Hughes' illustrations and research materials such as family notes and reminiscences and copied articles.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The collection has been arranged into series by the archivist according to subject or format. The accrual made in 2017 has been added to the existing series.

Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Associated materials


An small accrual to the fonds was donated by Len Roberts in 2017. The finding aid has been updated accordingly.

General note

Starting with the second accrual photographic material was added to the fonds by PH identifier number, instead of previous "BC" identifier system.

General note

Includes the following photographs: RBSC-ARC-1709-PH- 01 to 05, BC 2165 1 to 4.

General note

Photograph identifier: BC-2165

Physical description

Includes: 18 cm of textual records; 1 DVD (textual records); 4 cm of graphic materials; 6 photographs, 3 negatives.

Accompanying material

Collection also includes books which can be found by searching the library catalogue: 4 books inscribed to or from Hughes, 1 book with cover illustration attributed to Hughes, and an interleave copy of Robert's catalogue raisonné.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Rules or conventions


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Description revised by Claire Williams in July 2018.

Language of description

Script of description


Accession area

Related people and organizations

Related places

Related genres