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George Adolphus Storey papers

Identifier: MSS 0586

Scope and Content Note

The papers of George Adolphus Storey, R.A., prolific painter and longtime teacher of perspective at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, include both published and unpublished books, poems, plays, fiction, essays, lectures, notes, sketches, inventories, diaries, and other personal writings. Also included are several items belonging to his daughter, Gladys Storey, an actress well-known for her charitable work during World War I and II.

The collection spans 1848-1946 (bulk dates 1848-1919) and is four linear feet. All materials assembled and bound into notebooks by Storey remain in their original order, providing a unique perspective on the creative process of a Victorian artist, teacher, author, and poet. Storey often recorded in his diary the progress of particular paintings, noting when works were finished, exhibited, and sold, which offers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of his artistic production. His collected essays, lectures, and notes on art and science reveal much about nineteenth-century art education, both in England and Paris, while his diaries and collected biographical materials detail his social and professional encounters with the leading literary and artistic figures of Victorian London, especially the St. John’s Wood Clique. The papers are arranged in seven series that roughly correspond to significant developments in Storey’s life.

Series I. Correspondence, 1850-1915. This series includes several letters and other documents saved by Storey, ranging in date from his student days in Paris to the last years of his life. Notable among these is an 1850 letter to Storey from his Paris painting instructor, Jean Louis Dulong, and Storey’s 1899 letter exchange with Ernest Gambart, the Belgian art dealer. Also included in this series is a printed poem, "Lady Arabella’s Lament," which inspired a painting by Storey later exhibited at the Royal Academy, and an artist’s recipe for making plaster and cement.

Series II. Student in Paris, 1848-1850. The four self-bound notebooks in this series were prepared during Storey’s days as a student in Paris. Written in French, they record lectures and portions of scientific and mathematical publications encountered while studying those subjects with M. Morand. Among the notes are many diagrams and several early sketches by Storey (F3 and F5), who was studying painting with Jean Louis Dulong during the same period.

Series III. Early Career in England, 1851-1875. This series covers Storey’s transition from art student to professional artist and teacher. Included are several volumes of collected notes and essays on a variety of art-related topics, as well as lectures developed by Storey as he began to teach at his studio and at the Royal Academy Schools. Many of these notes and lectures served as the foundation for his later published work on art. While a member of the St. John’s Wood Clique, which flourished during this period, Storey also produced many poems, plays, and works of fiction, mostly unpublished. A rare copy of Storey’s first publication, The Poems of George Minimus of 1863 (F7), is included in this series, along with the author’s handwritten and corrected manuscript (F6).

Series IV. Associate of the Royal Academy of Art, 1876-1899. This series focuses on Storey’s years as an Associate of the Royal Academy, where he taught perspective while continuing to offer instruction at his own studio. During this period, Storey continued to develop his ideas about teaching art, and he gathered and bound many notes together into thematic volumes, apparently intending to publish them. Notable among these are several drafts, including two author’s mock-ups (F36 and F37), of books on perspective that were eventually combined and published in 1910 (F47). Storey also prepared a mock-up for publication of his major study on Michelangelo (F24), but only the first portion of this massive volume was ever published. Storey published several books during this period, including his second collection of poetry, Homely Ballads and Old-Fashioned Poems (F19, F20, and F21), and a small volume containing portions of his uncle’s travel diary, A Trip to Paris in 1815 (F22), both appearing in 1879. Two of Storey’s sketchbooks survive from this period. The first consists of sketches of some Meissonier paintings accompanied by notes (F44) that Storey later used in a public lecture in 1886 (F23), while the second book contains pencil and watercolor sketches from a trip to Margate in 1890 (F45).

In 1899, Storey published his autobiography, Sketches from Memory , which was more anecdotal than biographical, including few specific dates but many stories and reminiscences about people he encountered during his life. It was during the preparation of this book, from 1896 to 1899, that Storey recopied his diaries, editing them for content before destroying the originals. Selected diary entries from 1862 through 1886 were recopied and preserved in a single volume (F43). Despite Storey’s editing, bits of information he apparently wished to conceal emerged in the edited diary, most notably evidence of a long-term romantic relationship prior to his 1882 marriage. Storey also frequently slipped letters and other documents of various dates into his notebooks, and he reused several ledger books for his writings containing information of earlier dates, such the "House Inventory Book of Furniture" that contained household inventories (probably for his parents) dated 1832-1856 (F28).

Series V. Final Years, 1900-1919. This series covers the last two decades of Storey’s life, during which his important study, The Theory and Practice of Perspective , was published in 1910 (F47). This well-received volume, which remains in print, contributed to the achievement of Storey’s lifelong ambition when in 1914 he was finally elected a full member of the Royal Academy. Until shortly before his death, Storey continued to teach at the Royal Academy, following his usual practice of assembling and binding together his lectures, essays, and notes on a variety of art-related topics. He collected materials for a second installment of his autobiography, but this project was never completed (F59, F60, and F64).

In 1900, Storey used a ledger book to make a list of paintings and sketches, including dates and, in some cases, prices (F62). He added items to this list as late as 1912, and included in this ledger "The Literary Works of G. A. Storey," a list of his published and unpublished books.

Series VI. Gladys Storey. This series contains several items belonging to Gladys Storey, the only daughter of George Adolphus Storey, that reflect her career as an actress, her war work, and her many social connections. Included is a letter dated September 27, 1918, written to Gladys by Anne Ritchie, the daughter of William Thackeray (F66), and the daily engagement diary kept by Gladys during 1926 (F67) . Her contributions to the war effort are reflected in a "Minute Book" (F68) that recorded the annual meetings for Miss Gladys Storey’s Bovril Fund, the war charity she founded in 1916, and revived during World War II. A notebook containing photographs and postcards collected from various locations in the British Isles (F69) and labeled by Gladys, document one of her theatrical tours.

Series VII. Binding Materials. This series includes several examples of cover boards used by Storey when binding his notes, lectures, and diaries into book form (F70).


  • Creation: 1848-1946
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1848-1919


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English and French.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce isrequired from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

George Adolphus Storey, R.A. (1834-1919)

George Adolphus Storey, R.A. (1834-1919), prolific painter of portraits and historical genre pictures, was a long-time teacher of perspective at the Royal Academy of Art in London. He is best known for his book, The Theory and Practice of Perspective , which remains in print almost a century after its publication in 1910, and his participation in the St. John’s Wood Clique, a group of artists whose activities, aims, and ideals were loosely modeled on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Storey was born on January 7, 1834, and showed an early affinity for art. In 1848, at age 14, he joined his brother, William Storey, in Paris to complete his education and to study painting with Jean Louis Dulong. While there, he witnessed the Revolution of 1848, including being present at the sacking of the Palace apartments. He returned to London in late December 1849, and in 1850 entered the office of a London architect to pursue that profession, soon transferring to the London studio of artist James Mathews Leigh. There he met Henry Marks, future member of the St. John’s Wood Clique, and upon his acceptance by the Royal Academy Schools, he encountered other Clique members, including George Leslie, Philip Calderon, J. E. Hodgson, William Yeames, Frederick Walker, and David Wynfield. Storey maintained many of his Clique friendships throughout his life, well beyond the heyday of the Clique in the 1860s. Storey frequently accompanied various Clique members on short jaunts around England, including an extended visit to Hever Castle in 1866. He also traveled to the continent on several occasions, including an extended trip to Spain in 1862-1863, visits to Paris in 1868 and 1878 with George Leslie, and a journey through Italy in 1879 with Philip Calderon.

Storey first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1853, and became a regular contributor to the annual Royal Academy exhibitions. In 1876, Storey was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, where he was teacher of perspective. Following his election, Storey began to give lectures at various art societies around London, as well as offering instruction in his own studio while he continued to teach at the Royal Academy. He was finally elected a full member of the Royal Academy in 1914, when he was also named Professor of Perspective, a post previously held by J. M. W. Turner.

Storey wrote several unpublished books on art, including a massive work on Michelangelo. In 1910, Storey published The Theory and Practice of Perspective , drawn from his many years of studying and teaching the subject. He was also a lifelong writer and poet, turning his hand to short fiction, plays, and poetry, including translating sonnets and poems by Michelangelo into English. Storey published two small books of poetry, The Poems of George Minimus in 1863, and Homely Ballads and Old-Fashioned Poems in 1879. He also kept diaries throughout his life, in which he wrote extensively about his travels and his personal and professional trials and triumphs. He published anecdotes and reminiscences in his autobiography, Sketches from Memory , in 1899.

During the early Clique years, Storey embarked on a relationship with a young woman named Frances (circa 1843-1916), or Fanny, last name unknown, with whom he eventually had a son, Robert Oliver Storey, in 1866 (see F43). After residing together during most of the 1870s, the couple separated, although Storey continued to provide occasional financial assistance. In 1882, Storey married Emily Hayward (circa 1863-1940), and had one daughter, Mary Gladys Storey (circa 1886-1978). Storey died at his Hampstead home in 1919 at the age of 85.

Storey, G. A.Sketches from Memory. London: Chatto & Windus, 1899. Additional biographical information derived from collection.

Mary Gladys Storey (1886-1978)

Mary Gladys Storey (1886-1978), daughter of George Adolphus Storey and Emily Hayward was a London-based actress well-known for fundraising for the British troops during World Wars I and II.

Mary Gladys Storey was born circa 1886, and lived in Hampstead until her removal to a nursing facility in 1973, near the end of her life. Gladys, as she was known, was a fairly successful actress in London, appearing in a number of productions during the first decades of the twentieth century. She is best known for her efforts on behalf of the British armed forces in World War I, first as a recruiter, then as founder and administrator of the Bovril Fund, known as "Miss Gladys Storey’s Bovril Fund." She actively sought donations to supply the troops with Bovril, a concentrated meat product used to make hot drinks. For her highly-successful fundraising for the troops, she was made an Officer of the British Empire (O.B.E.) in 1920.

In 1929, Storey published All Sorts of People , a collection of reminiscences about various people she encountered throughout her life, both through her father, G. A. Storey, and through her own career in theater, with special emphasis on her war work. Storey also authored Dickens and Daughter in 1939, describing the relationship between Charles Dickens and his second daughter, Kate Perugini, a close friend of Gladys. Gladys passed away in a nursing home in Brighton in 1978 at age 92.

Storey, Gladys.All Sorts of People. London: Methuen & Co., 1929. Additional biographical information derived from collection.


4 linear foot (4 boxes)


The papers of George Adolphus Storey, R.A., prolific British painter and longtime teacher of perspective at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, include both published and unpublished books, poems, plays, fiction, essays, lectures, notes, sketches, inventories, diaries, and other personal writings. Also included are several items belonging to his daughter, Mary Gladys Storey, an actress well-known for her charitable work during World Wars I and II.


Purchase, August 2005.

Shelving Summary

  1. Boxes 1-4: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons


Processed and encoded by Teresa K. Nevins, December 2008.

Finding aid for George Adolphus Storey papers
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2008 December 1
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA