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Two pages from letter of John Linnell to James Muirhead

John Linnell (1792-1882) was both a major artist in his own right and an important contact for the most significant artists of the era, including William Blake, Samuel Palmer and the Pre-Raphaelites. After meeting Blake in 1818, he was a source of valuable support to the visionary artist during his final decade; after Blake's death in 1827, Linnell continued to support Samuel Palmer, who would later marry his daughter, Hannah. 

The Fitzwilliam collection is Linnell's own archive as preserved by his descendents. It comprises Linnell's original journals (thirteen volumes), cash books and accounts, his manuscript autobiography, and extensive correspondence with leading artists such John Constable and Samuel Palmer, political figures such as William Wilberforce, those who commissioned portraits from him, and business and family correspondents. At over 17,000 items, the Linnell Archive is a treasury of information on the nineteenth-century art world and Victorian society in general.