The Sambourne Diaries

Morning Room12

From the beginning of her married life Marion Sambourne had written dinner-party menus and recipes in a little notebook, this was full up by the end of 1880, so she began afresh in 1881 with a larger, diary-type book.  It seems the initial intention was to record the family meals each day but gradually Marion begins adding further information regarding her day. This led to 33 consecutive years of recording what interested her and occupied her time the most- her family and home.  Though terse in style and hardly more than statements of fact, her diary records various personal details ranging from her worries about the health of her children, records the behaviour of her servants, the cost of living, how hard her husband is working, what they did on their holidays, whether a new dress will fit, where to buy wallpaper, the whirl of social engagements etc.


It may have been his wife’s enthusiasm for diary keeping that inspired Linley to start his in own diary, but on January 1882 both embarked on proper diary-writing together that would become an essential part of their daily routine, and be continued until infirm late in life. Linley’s diary entries like his wife’s were written in a very impersonal style but do offer an insight into his daily activities, interests and the artistic world he was part of.


Below are links to downloadable transcripts of the diaries:


Edward Linley Sambourne's diaries 1882-1910


Marion Sambourne's diaries 1882-1914


Please note there are no restrictions on the use of these diaries for non-commercial research or private study, if used for publication please contact the museum for permission.

Visits are by Guided Tours

Mid-September to Mid-June

18 Stafford Terrace, W8 7BH