Bonomi, Joseph, 1796-1878 (sculptor and Egyptologist)
- Existence: 1796 - 1878
Joseph Bonomi (1796-1878), sculptor and Egyptologist, went to Rome in 1822 to study under Canova (who died before his arrival). In 1824-6 he was part of Robert Hay's expedition to Egypt, and sketched many antiquities. In Cairo in 1827-8 he illustrated James Burton's Excerpta hieroglyphica. In 1833 he toured Syria and Palestine with Francis Arundale and Frederic Catherwood. Returning to England in 1834, Nineveh and its palaces, describing the city and its sculptures, reliefs and inscriptions from the artistic and scriptural points of view, which appeared in several editions from 1852. Bonomi illustrated the Egyptian works of Sir Gardner Wilkinson and Samuel Birch, and helped to arrange the Egyptian exhibits in the British Museum. In 1838 he copied hieroglyphics and obelisks in Rome; and in 1842 he designed an Egyptian facade for John Marshall's Temple Mills in Leeds. In 1842-4 he was part of Lepsius's Prussian expedition to Egypt, measuring and drawing. In 1850 with Henry Warren and James Fahey he exhibited a 'Grand Moving Panorama of the Nile'. In 1845 Bonomi married Jessie, daughter of the artist John Martin. Their four children all died in the same week in 1852 of whooping cough. Four more children were born: Isabella (1853-1916), Cecilia Nefeeseh, Baroness De Cosson (1855-1944), Joseph Ignatius (1857-1930) and Marion (1858-90). Jessie Bonomi died in 1859 aged 34, and her sister Isabella Mary Martin kept house for Bonomi thereafter. In 1853 Bonomi and Owen Jones arranged the Egyptian Court at the Crystal Palace. In 1861 Bonomi applied for the curatorship of Sir John Soane's Museum, a post for a practising architect, and after a fierce struggle and much criticism, was elected. With his brother Ignatius Bonomi (1787-1870), architect, he built a house, The Camels, at Wimbledon. In 1864 he published detailed drawings of the 'Belzoni sarcophagus' in the Soane Museum, with descriptions by Samuel Sharpe. He contributed articles on Egypt to scholarly periodicals, illustrated many of Samuel Sharpe's books, and published Bonomi invented a machine for measuring the proportions of the body, and wrote a treatise on the proportions of the human figure.
Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:
Joseph Bonomi: letter to and miscellanea relating to his descendants, Claude de Cosson and William Scovil, 1802-1926
Letter of Benedict Rayment to Joseph Bonomi, 1802. Together with miscellanea relating to descendants of Bonomi - Claude de Cosson and William Scovil - including:
-  card from Francis Oliver to Scovil titled ‘Souvenir 23rd June 1927’, with silhouettes of Oliver cut in 1886 and 1924;
- [204-205] Letter from Stanley Cursiter to de Cosson, 1926, about drawings by Sir Walter Scott acquired by De Cosson in 1906.