London Sketch Club

Overview of the Archives

Creator: London Sketch Club
Title: London Sketch Club Archives
Date: 1898-present day
Quantity: Two cubic metres
Location: Club's premises

History of the Club

The London Sketch Club was founded in 1898 to provide a social haven for the leading graphic artists of the day. Its early members included Tom Browne, Cecil Aldin, Walter Churcher, Dudley Hardy, Edmund Dulac, John Hassall, Phil May, Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Baden-Powell. The period from 1898 to 1914 saw the development of the club's character defined by such eccentrics as Phil May and Tom Browne. It also saw the emergence of two distinct artistic groups, the Poster school and the Fairy School; the former characterized by the work of John Hassall, the later by Edmund Dulac. By 1914 the club's membership had reached 150 and it had gained a reputation as a bohemian haunt 'par excellence'. Not surprisingly, its annual ball became an essential part of London's social calendar. Despite the collapse of the illustrated book market in 1914, the club blossomed during the inter-war wars. Unfortunately the forties saw the demise of the illustrated magazine market and a subsequent decline in practising members working in this field. In recent years, the club has seen a reverse in its fortunes, with a growing membership of both fine and applied artists, including illustrators, graphic designers, architects and photographers.

A more detailed history can be found here.

Scope & Content of the Archives

Membership registers, minute books, biographies, paintings, drawings, artworks, programmes, posters, tickets, menus, press cuttings, magazine articles, obituaries, photographs, club journals, published books

Related Materials

Some ephemera relating to the Chelsea Arts Club and the Savage Club.

Arrangement of the Archives

The arrangement of the records has evolved over many years. Whilst a rudimentary reference system had been put in place by a previous archivist, the curating of an exhibition of archives held to coincide with the club's centenary necessitated the archive's complete re-cataloguing. During this process some non-relevant material of no intrinsic value was disposed of. The remaining material was rearranged according to record type (book, folders, minutes and so on). Loose printed ephemera (posters, invitations etc.) were put in folders. Some photographs and printed items have been damaged through the use of inappropriate fixings. New containers/fixing systems will be used in due course.

Photographs and ephemera, 1898-?

Framed photographs forming part of the Centenary Exhibition,

Ian Hassall's Scrapbook

Albums containing photographs and ephemera presented by Robert Cole, Frederick Hill, R.L. Tumelty, F.G. Goldring, R.A.J. Malby, G.H. Stringer, Peter Blake, William S. Bavin, L.A. D'Arcy Pearce, Clay Thomas, Lewis D.M. Gavin, Oliver Brabbins, Oliver Robinson, G. Robert Cole, Frederick Mancini.

Wallet containing London Sketch Club, Chelsea Arts Club and Savage Club ephemera

Box file containing LSC documents?

Administrative books and documents, 1898-

Minute books, 1898-1908, 1908-1925, 1952-1967, 1967-1972, 1982-1987, 1951?-1994

Membership books, 1898-1906, 1898-1911, 1899-1910, 1905-1925

Founder members addresses, 1898-1904 Membership application forms, 1905-1925

Historic autograph book

Visitors book, 1967-1977

Architectural plans: Wells Street premises

Published books and journals, 1898-2005

Sketchpad back numbers

London Sketch Club vol 1 and 2

The London Sketch Club. 1978. David Cuppleditch

London Sketch Club, vols 1 and 2

William Heath Robinson. James Hamilton

A Phil May Medley. Phil May

The Jackals. Bill Bavin (mss)

The Night Side of London. Robert Machray

Brush Pen and Pencil, the book of Frank Reynolds. A.E. Johnson

Cecil Aldin. The story of a sporting artist. Roy Heron

My line of life. Heath Robinson

The London Sketch Club. 1994. David Cuppleditch

In Red and Black. Bert Thomas Absurdities. Heath Robinson

The man who was H.M.Bateman. Anthony Anderson

The John Hassall Lifestyle. David Cuppleditch

Humours of Golf. Heath Robinson

Phil May, the artist and his wit. David Cuppleditch

Social Caricature in the Eighteenth Century. George Paston

Phil May's Sketch-Book. Phil May

The Art of E.A. Rickards. E.A. Rickards

The Art of the Illustrator, Bert Thomas and his work. Percy Bradshaw

The Wapping Group, The first fifty years John Hassall published by John Sandford

Unpublished books and journals, 1898-2005

HL Oakley Silhouette Artist 1882-1960. A Biographical Note. JJ Rendell 2005

Paintings, drawings and artworks, 1898-?

Framed paintings and drawings including artworks by H.M. Bateman, David Ghilchik, George Parlby, Tom Robbins, David Jagger, Ken Hardy, Ley Kenyon, D. Young, Charles Ward, Oswald Adler, Golding, Solomon Van Abbé, Bill Clements, Sydney Weeks, John Hassall, Harry Riley, George Studdy, Robert Baden-Powell, Edmund Dulac, M.J. Heath and Bill Clements.

Framed paintings, drawings and artworks forming part of the Centenary Exhibition. Works by Bernard Bays, Arnold Beauvais, Tom Browne, William Clements, Thomas Downey, Lawrence East, Dudley Hardy, John Hassall, Chas Morton, Edgar Norfield, Lunt Roberts, John Seabrook, Harry Riley, Ellis Silas, Graham Simmons and George Studdy.

Folders of paintings, drawings and artworks.

Sculpture by Albert Toft

Members' work/biographies

Press cuttings and magazine articles, 1898 - 1998

'Illustrated' article 'Down at the Sketcher's Arms', 1947

The 'Times of Chelsea' article, 1974

'The Artist' article by Dennis Gilbert, 1980

'Picture Post' article 'Sketchers', 1939

'Evening Standard' article, 1998

Miscellaneous items, 1898-?

Seven large display palettes listing names of past presidents

Full-height street lamp post

Pub sign entitled 'The Sketchers' Arms'

Cell door from The Old Bailey

Wooden axe, sword and ball & chain


© The London Sketch Club