Title: Novello-Cowden Clarke
Classmark: BC MS NCC
Collection group(s): English Literature
The Novello Cowden Clarke Collection was donated by the great-grand-daughters of Vincent Novello, Donna Nerina Medici di Marignano Gigliucci and Contessa Bona Gigliucci. It was given to the University of Leeds for inclusion in the Brotherton Collection in 1953. Additional items were contributed by another great-grand-daughter, Donna Beatrice Notarbartolo Gigliucci, and by Mr. Roger H. Ellis.
The collection has two main parts, the papers and correspondence of the Novello family and a library of books collected by the Cowden Clarkes. The two sections are intimately connected, for Mary Victoria, the wife of Keat’s friend Charles Cowden Clarke, was the eldest of Vincent Novello’s eleven children. This large collection includes 975 volumes, 70 pamphlets, 165 unbound periodical parts, 450 autographed letters, 100’s of manuscripts items, nine sketch books as well as many other sketches and paintings, printed and manuscript music, engraved views, maps, plans and portraits, photographs, two albums of greeting cards, news-cuttings, a double miniature of Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke, a seal of Charles Cowden Clarke, and other unclassified material.
The Novello Cowden Clarkes were a well-known family of musicians, writers, artists, singers, actors, and were popular within literary and artistic circles.
The earliest member of the family to make his appearance in the collection is Giuseppe Novello, father of Vincent Novello (1781-1861). Giuseppe Novello was born in Piedmont, moved to London in 1771 and was a confectioner. His son Vincent was an organist, composer and founder of the music publishing business which still bears his name. In 1808 Vincent Novello married Mary Sabilla Hehl (1789?-1854), a woman of great determination and character. Their first child Mary Victoria (1809-98) achieved fame as a writer and is particularly remembered for her devotion to Shakespeare. In 1828 she married Keats’s friend Charles Cowden Clarke (1787-1877), himself a writer and a great popularizer of literature. The collection also holds many papers of his eldest son, Joseph Alfred (1810-1896), his dynamic partner in the publishing venture and a restless inventor and investor. Many of Vincent Novello’s other children also showed great talent. Clara Novello (1818-1908) achieved fame as one of the greatest singers of her generation, and there are many papers relating to her brilliant singing career. Many paintings and drawings in the collection attest to the remarkable artisitic ability of his Edward Novello (1813-1836) who sadly died young. Cecilia Novello showed promise on the stage, but soon retired upon marrying Thomas James Serle, the playwright and journalist.
The Novello Cowden Clarke Collection is divided into 9 sections. These are:
I Printed Books
Please refer to the original typed 1955 hand list in Finding aid F13.
II Printed Books- Quarto Sequence
Please refer to the original typed 1955 hand list in Finding aid F13 and Letters database.
VI Manuscripts other than letters including drawings, sketchbooks, miscellanea etc.
VII Printed/Manuscript Music
IX Paintings and Portraits
This hand list reflects the material in section VI: Manuscripts other than letters including Drawings, Sketchbooks, Miscellanea etc. Each item has been given a manuscript number e.g. NCC MS 1. The first section of the hand list is part of an original hand list created in the 1950’s. We are unable to alter these manuscript numbers so you will find that items relating to a particular person do not follow an order and may be spread throughout the whole handlist.
Please see attached handlist for further details.
A copy of the 1955 handlist can be found in the Special Collections reading room.
Additional item added to collection September 2017:
BC MS NCC/151: a typescript copy of Mary Novello's travel diary.
The BC MS NCC catalogue is based on an historic inventory. The arrangement of material does not necessarily represent the original order of the archive and it is considered partly processed by an archivist. When making requests to consult, please be aware that there may be discrepancies between description and physical arrangement. The retrievable unit for this collection is file level.
Catalogues of archives are usually arranged in hierarchies - one hierarchy for each collection in the archive. The details on display will be of a record at a particular level of the hierarchy. There may be other records above, below, or alongside this record in the same hierarchy. The full hierarchy is shown below.
Books, manuscripts and archives in Special Collections are usually grouped together in collections. Catalogue records for individual objects link to a collection record, which show the object's context, and associated material.
You can see the full hierarchy under 'In this collection'.
Catalogues of archives are usually arranged in hierarchies - one hierarchy for each collection in the archive. The details on display will be of a record at a particular level of the hierarchy. There may be other records above, below, or alongside this record in the same hierarchy. You can see the full hierarchy under 'In this collection'.