Skip Navigation

Sketchbook of American and Italian Subjects

William Trost Richards

American Art

Richards first traveled to Europe in 1855, remaining abroad for a year and spending most of the time in Italy. Like so many artists before him, Richards was overjoyed to be in Florence: “I have not as yet realized that I am in Italy that all the dreams of a boyhood are fulfilled.” Richards carried this small sketchbook on a walking tour in the Apennine mountains in October 1855. The carefully drawn vista shown here of the broad valley through which the Arno river winds reminded Richards, always quick to compare American and European landscape scenery, of the view of the Hudson from the Catskill Mountain House.
MEDIUM Sketchbook containing drawings in graphite on wove paper
DATES 1855–1856
DIMENSIONS 4 1/16 x 6 5/8 x 3/8 in. (10.3 x 16.8 x 1 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed, in graphite, page 1 upper right: "William T Richards / Philadelphia".
INSCRIPTIONS (See Description field)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Edith Ballinger Price
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Sketchbook with 32 pages of drawings in graphite of landscape subjects, and a few buildings and figures; most pages are off-white with a few tan and gray pages interleaved; book has black covers with embossed serpentine pattern and gilded decoration on spine and "ALBUM" on front. Inside front cover: sketch of figure and rock (?), inscribed upper left "80 Teillerc $ [illegible] / 4 x 6 ½ [o/2] each" p. 1: a few scribbles and mathematical calculation, signed upper right "William T. Richards / Philadelphia" p. 2: [recto] landscape, inscribed lower left "June 21st"; [verso] rough sketch of figure on path in landscape. p. 3: blank p. 4: landscape with mountains and lake (continues onto part of p. 3 verso), inscribed lower left "June 21st". p. 5: [recto] landscape of hills with cabins, inscribed lower left "June 21st"; [verso]: rough sketch of hills p 6: [recto] panoramic landscape of boats on lake surrounded by mountains, inscribed lower left, "June 21st"; [verso] sketch of building exterior with arched door and elaborately framed windows p. 7: rough landscape sketch p. 8: [recto] landscape sketch; [verso] very rough sketch of mountains p. 9: [recto] hills; [verso] sketch of town in valley p. 10: [recto] very rough sketch of rock; [verso] landscape with trees and rocks (upside down) p. 11: rough sketch of trees p. 12: [recto] landscape with trees; [verso] head of man in profile p. 13: [recto] landscape with trees and building; [verso] bell tower p. 14: [recto] rough sketch of rocks; [verso] rocks p. 15: rocks along coast p. 16: [recto] rough sketch of landscape with mountains; [verso] church interior (upside down). p. 17: blank p. 18: very rough landscape sketch p. 19: landscape with buildings on mountaintops, inscribed upper right: "San Pietro a Quintole / monti [ant?]" p. 20: landscape with hills and valley p. 21: [recto] rough landscape sketch; [verso] rough sketch of hills (upside down) p. 22: [recto] rough sketch of hills; [verso] very rough sketch of hills. [Page torn out between remaining pages 22 and 23.] p. 23 [tan paper]: [recto] blank; [verso] rough sketch of branches (upside down). p. 24: [recto] very light and sketchy landscape forms; [verso] rocks (upside down). p. 25 [gray paper]: small sketch of boat (upside down) p. 26 [gray paper]: blank p. 27: [recto] blank; [verso] faint landscape sketch (upside down). p. 28: [recto] sketch of village with aqueduct and hills and trees; [verso] sketch of a stand of trees with color notations, from top to bottom and left to right: "yellow / [?]", "olive", "russet", "yellow / grey", "yellow", "grey", "purple", "grey-[green]", "yellow green [?]", "umber", "white" p. 29: [recto] rough landscape sketch; [verso] rough sketch of a stand of trees with inscription below "green opposed [?] red / [shadow?] to ['gr' struck through] orange / yellow and green" p. 30: [recto] sketch of hilltops; [verso] mathematical calculations at upper left p. 31: [recto] beginning outline of mountain (upside down); [verso] panoramic view of hills and valley p. 32 [tan paper]: blank Inside back cover: sketch of cabin and hills
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION William Trost Richards (American, 1833–1905). Sketchbook of American and Italian Subjects, 1855–1856. Sketchbook containing drawings in graphite on wove paper, 4 1/16 x 6 5/8 x 3/8 in. (10.3 x 16.8 x 1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Edith Ballinger Price, 75.15.2 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 75.15.2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 75.15.2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2004
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.