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Calderon, P. H. (Philip Hermogenes), 1833–1898

Philip Hermogenes Calderon correspondence from John Everett Millais and Frederic Leighton, 1886-1896.

Physical Description:
0.42 linear feet (1 box)
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
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View a description and listing of collection contents in the finding aid
Archives & Manuscripts
All letters in original condition. Most of Millais's letters include envelopes; Leighton's letters do not include envelopes. Several pieces (particularly in Leighton's letters) are written on black-bordered mourning stationery. Most feature letterheads (some embossed) indicating their origins at various locations.
This collection is open without restriction.
Philip Hermogenes Calderon (1833-1898) was a painter of domestic and historical scenes and leader of the St. John's Wood Clique. He was Keeper of the Royal Academy in London. Frederic Leighton (1830-1896) was a leading Victorian neo-classical painter and president of the Royal Academy from 1878 to 1896. Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896) was a painter, watercolorist, and illustrator, and co-founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He succeeded Frederic Leighton as president of the Royal Academy in 1896.
The collection comprises letters reflecting the last years in the lives of both Sir John Everett Millais and Frederic, Lord Leighton. They date from the 1880s and 1890s, and make frequent reference to the inner workings of the Royal Academy, in which Millais, Leighton, and their addressee, Philip Calderon, were involved. At this time, Calderon was serving as the Keeper of the Royal Academy and Leighton as the President. Towards the end of his life, Leighton was forced to resign his position in order to embark on travels meant to improve his health. Millais, himself suffering from the throat cancer that would eventually kill him, served as his substitute in 1895 and formally assumed the President's role in 1896, after Leighton's death. These letters evidence Millais's anxieties about the demands of the President's position, with particular regard to any speaking duties. The letters from Leighton and Millais are both written in a casual, intimate, tone, suggesting a longstanding acquaintance with Calderon. Leighton's missives generally concern aspects of his profession and artistic philosophy, and are sometimes heated in nature when discussing current affairs in the academy. Millais's seem to reflect a closer friendship with Calderon, and while addressing both professional and personal topics, are genial and frank in nature. While he voices concerns about the future of painting and other thoughts about creative processes, he also writes friendly greetings from his home in Scotland, discussing his hunting and fishing successes, and asking Calderon for gossip from London. Leighton's letters, the last of which date to just a couple weeks prior to his death, do not show signs that he was slowing in his dedication to painting. He asks Calderon, in a letter from 1894 or 1895, about plans for a mural at the Royal Exchange, a project that he himself would undertake. Millais's letters, however, evidence his occasional melancholy about the worth of artistic pursuits (despite his continuing work at this time) and, in particular, are movingly honest about the artist's failing health. Millais confesses to discomfort, fear, and despair in his last letters to Calderon. His final communication, written on a slate, was transcribed on paper by his daughter Mary, and includes a note from her regarding the tracheotomy that became necessary to help Millais breathe in the last month of his life.It appears that some of the letters that Calderon wrote to Millais during these years are in the Morgan Library collection. While Calderon's letters to Leighton are not available, a collection of contemporary letters from Leighton to other correspondents is located in the Getty Research Institute.
The collection is arranged in two series: I. Letters from John Everett Millais to P.H. Calderon. II. Letters from Frederic Leighton to P.H. Calderon. Letters are in chronological order within each series, with undated material following the dated items.
Subject Terms:
Calderon, P. H. (Philip Hermogenes), 1833-1898 -- Correspondence.
Leighton of Stretton, Frederic Leighton, Baron, 1830-1896 -- Correspondence.
Millais, John Everett, 1829-1896 -- Correspondence.
Millais, Mary Hunt, 1860-1944 -- Correspondence.
Painters -- Great Britain -- 19th century -- Correspondence.
Painting, British -- 19th century.
Royal Academy of Arts (Great Britain)
Leighton of Stretton, Frederic Leighton, Baron, 1830-1896.
Millais, John Everett, 1829-1896.
Millais, Mary Hunt, 1860-1944.

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