- Museum number
Sketchbook with dark brown-red leather cover with pencil holder and marbled paper inside covers, with pocket inside front cover containing two sketches (nos. 24, 25), and 47 leaves with figure, portrait, compositional studies, ornamental details and notes, on the first 21 leaves and 2 end leaves (intervening leaves blank); including several studies of women and children at domestic tasks, including one washing, combing, and plaiting long hair, possibly studies for ‘Gretchen’ (1861, Tate); studies for ‘Sibyl’ (1860-61, destroyed) and ‘Head of Mrs Eaton’ (1861, Yale Center for British Art) studies of the artist's daughter Alice in bed in May and June 1861; studies of objects in the British Museum; a slight sketch of a young woman with eyes closed, probably a study of the artist after her death on July 15, 1861, drawn by her husband, Henry Tanworth Wells. 1860- 61
Numbers in brackets refer to notes in the curator’s comments section below; transcribed texts do not reproduce emphases in the inscriptions.
1 VERSO Page of memoranda, with notes on artists
Inscribed “Joanna M Wells/[Aug-struck through] Nov 1860
1218. 5 d Agnolo Gaddi/118/1. 7d Albert Durer/249 10d Leonard [word illeg.]/671 7 ½ Holbein
Copy of an Irish circular brooch. the surface/chequered with small circular studs West[?]/9 Son[?] 1852. 18 d. 2752./624 not winkd [?]
A plain commentary on the Gospels. pub. by J.H. Parker”
“nail up blind in spare room/send hampers to/Mrs Wetton [?]  /comb & brush bag/large watch pocket/exact list of things in Mrs. S’s care/braid on baby’s nightgowns/my nightgown mended/powder & English eau de cologne/pin tray H [?]/2 more flannel bands”
2 RECTO Study of a seated woman wearing a cape, in profile to l, head turned away
2 VERSO Sleeping man, head and shoulders, his head resting on his hand, probably Henry Tanworth Wells
Leaf between 2 and 3 cut out
3 RECTO Study of a girl leaning on the seat of a chair, inscribed “Nov 30”; study of a woman with a baby at a table
3 VERSO Blank
4 RECTO Three studies of a woman in classical drapery with r arm raised, possibly a sketch for the Sibyl (painted 1860-61)
4 VERSO Study of a woman in profile to r, r arm raised, shoulder bare; sketch of a female head
5 RECTO Sketch of a seated woman looking down, in profile to r
5 VERSO Blank
6 RECTO Three sketches of women seated in profile to r, one doing needlework, one playing the piano
6 VERSO Sketch of a standing woman, leaning on a chair; sketch of a seated woman doing needlework in profile to l
7 RECTO Study of a woman singing, likely at a piano, HL in profile to r
7 VERSO Blank
8 RECTO Study of a man sleeping at a table, leaning his chin on his hand, in profile to r, inscribed “Jan 15, 61”; study of a woman plaiting her hair around a post
8 VERSO Beginning of a sketch
Two leaves between 8 and 9 cut out
9 RECTO Three sketches of a woman plaiting her long hair, possibly first ideas for Gretchen (1861, Tate), two FL and one head and shoulders; sketch of a head
Inscribed “Jan 29”
9 VERSO Blank
10 RECTO Sketch of Henry Tanworth Wells reading, seated in profile to r; sketch of a seated woman holding a toddler, inscribed Feb 2.61”
10 VERSO Blank
11 RECTO Sketch of Mrs. Eaton, the ‘Sibyl’ model, seated in profile to r; sketch of her head and shoulders [see also 13 recto]
11 VERSO Six studies of ornaments, possibly of a necklace pendant
Page between 11 and 12 cut out
12 RECTO Page of studies after objects in the British Museum, such as jewellery and furniture; including a foot stool, an earring, a seat, a necklace, a bracelet, an “ornament of lower part of seat”, “fringe of draperies”, “pattern over cushion/above fringe”; some notes on the sizes of the objects
Inscribed “Brit Museum./March 61”
12 VERSO Sketch of an arm of someone at an easel; small sketches of other objects
13 RECTO Study of the head and shoulders of Mrs. Eaton, the ‘Sibyl’ model, [see also 11 recto] studies of Egyptian hieroglyphs
Group of hieroglyphs inscribed “on copy of the prophecies of the/10 Sibyls/book presented to Queen Elizabeth” 
13 VERSO Two studies of a woman with long hair with her arms crossed, possibly studies for ‘Gretchen’
14 RECTO Sketch of a woman with long hair from behind; sketch of a woman combing her long hair, possibly studies for ‘Gretchen’; sketch of a girl, head and shoulders
14 VERSO Study of a kneeling woman, face covered by her hair, from behind; study of a woman with long hair, one hand raised to her shoulder
15 RECTO Sketch of a man with a beard, possibly a monk, with his head bowed in prayer, head and shoulders in profile to r
Inscribed “Eton Chapel/April 61”
15 VERSO Blank
16 RECTO Study of a girl, possibly the same as 17 r, head and shoulders
16 VERSO Blank
17 RECTO Study of Alice Wells asleep, age 17 months, l arm outstretched, inscribed “Alice in bed/11 p.m. May 16.61.”; sketch of a girl in long robes, possibly same girl as 16 r, in profile to l, face turned to front
17 VERSO Blank
18 RECTO Study of Henry Tanworth Wells’s [?] face; sketch of Alice Wells, age 18 months, asleep in profile to r
Inscribed “Alice June 23./61/in bed”
18 VERSO Blank
19 RECTO Blank
19 VERSO Blank
20 RECTO Blank
20 VERSO Sketch of a woman’s face, possibly of Joanna Boyce Wells after her death (died 15 July 1861), likely drawn by husband, Henry Tanworth Wells
25 leaves blank
21 RECTO Small unidentified sketch
21 VERSO Blank
22 RECTO Blank
22 VERSO Cloud study with extensive colour notes, including “neutral grey sky” “ pale gold clouds”
Inscribed at base, “above all a thin level shelf of warmish white cloud mottled with grey”
March 16. study window”
23 RECTO Sketch of a female nude standing on one leg, inscribed with notes and measurements
Inscribed “80. Jan 5. 61. W [?]/85. Jan 26.61 [W]
belt than [?] 37 inches x 8 ¾ / calico lies 20 x 7 1/2
“1862 exhibition/1 Sybil/2 Gretchen alone/3Undine/4 Life sized Mrs Eaton
extras/Bird of God  woodcuts/Baby/Study of Lizzie/landscape?
Buondelmonte  /figlia Selons.madre?
wife’s hair combed by/the maid looks ex bet[?]/h own [?] side Rogers”
23 VERSO Marbled end paper
24 and 25 are slips of paper in the front pocket
24 RECTO Sketch of an open book
24 VERSO Blank
25 RECTO Study of a woman with a large bundle on her head; sketch of a woman with long hair
25 VERSO Blank
- Production date
Height: 110 millimetres
Width: 154 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The following are references from the bracketed numbers above.
 John William Burgon, ‘A Plain Commentary on the Gospels’ (J.H. Parker, 1855).
 The Wettons were friends of Henry and Joanna Wells.
For more information on Fanny Eaton see curatorial comment for 1910,1013.26.
 The Wettons were friends of Henry and Joanna Wells.
 ‘Bird of God’ was exhibited posthumously in 1862.
 Opera by Pacini, first performed in Florence in 1845.
This entry is by Laurel Peterson, with advice from Katie Jane Tyreman. Her work in 2009/10 was supported by a grant from Anne Christopherson facilitated by Timothy Goad.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1995-6 Nov-Apr, BM, Recent Acquisitions (no cat.)
2019-2020 Oct-Jan, National Portrait Gallery, London, Pre-Raphaelite Sisters
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Anne Christopherson is the great-grand-daughter of the artist, Joanna Boyce Wells. This sketchbook and the others by Joanna Boyce and other members of the family with which it was presented (1995-4-1-3 to 18) came to Anne Christopherson by descent through her mother and grandmother (Joanna Margaret Wells Hadley - the daughter of Joanna Boyce Wells).
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number