Search the Archive

Search the National Gallery Archive containing records of the Gallery's activities from its foundation in 1824 to the present day. Find out more about the National Gallery Archive.

Record NGA27/1/3

Archive reference number NGA27/1/3

Print and Engraving Stock Books

Date 1862-1988

The Print and Engraving Stock Books can be described in three parts. The first seven volumes record all prints and engravings acquired as stock between 1862-1988 (NGA27/1/3/1-7). There are also a number of medium or artist specific volumes (NGA27/1/3/8-10). Finally, there are three volumes which enabled the firm to keep track of the number of engravings sold and remaining between 1882-1898 (NGA27/1/3/11-13), and late 20th century purchases and sales of prints books (NGA27/1/3/14-17). Read on for information about the the classification often used within these stock books:

Print Classifications:

(1) Originally, prints were classified alphabetically using the 'Description' column (which recorded the artist, engraver/etcher, title, and occasionally medium), but the type of information used for classification varies. For example, in Print Stock Book 1, prints created after Lawrence Alma-Tadema tended to be classified in the 'A' section. On the other hand, in the same volume, Alma-Tadema's "The Kiss" can be found in the 'K' section. Moreover, many prints in 'A' were classified by their title rather than artist; for example, "Annuciation" after Edward Burne-Jones and the "Almeria" mezzotint after John Opie.

(2) Alphabetical classifications were gradually phased out during the 20th century, and there were also a number of subsequent changes. The following list will indicate how the classifications changed, and which volumes they can be found within:

A: (1) in vols. 1-6

B: (1) in vols. 1-5; Coloured prints and black and white stipples in vols. 1-3; Old 'SP' stock numbers, see classification below in vols. 6-7

BX: Coloured prints and black and white stipples in vols. 3-6

C: (1) in vols. 1-4; Constable Lucas engravings only in vols. 4-6; Prints from Major W. Spowers collection (1969) in vols. 6-7

D: (1) in vols. 1-5

E: (1) in vols. 1-5; Original etchings in vols. 1-4; Prints from Lady Eccles collection (1979) in vol. 7

EX: Original etchings, including Fittons in vols. 3-5

F: (1) including French engravings in vols. 1-5; French engravings only in vols. 4-6

FX: Prints from Mrs Flower's collection (1912) in vols. 3-4

G: (1) in vols. 1-5

H: (1) in vols. 1-5; Original mezzotints by Norman Hirst only in vols. 4-5

I/J: (1) in vols. 1-4

K: (1) in vols. 1-4

L: (1) in vols. 1-5; Leech sketches only in vols. 4-5

M: (1) in vols. 1-5; All modern engravings and etching except C, EX, H, L and T in vols. 4-5

N: (1) in vols. 1-4

O: (1) in vols. 1-4

P: (1) in vols. 1-5; All stock purchased after 1950 in vols. 5-7

Q: (1) in vols. 1-4

R: (1) in vols. 1-5; Mezzotints in black and white in vols. 1-3

RA: Framed engravings held on joint account with Mr Robert Rankin in vols. 5-6

RX: Mezzotints in black and white in vols. 3-6

S: (1) including sporting prints in vols. 1-5; Old sporting prints in vols. 4-6

SP: Prints in volumes which were transferred from 'P', after 1965 in vols. 6-7

T: (1) in vols. 1-6; Engravings after J.M.W. Turner only in vols. 4-6

U/V: (1) in vols. 1-5

W: (1) in vols. 1-4

Y: (1) in vols. 2-3

Common Abbreviations within print stock books include:

a. 1, 2 st = 1st, 2nd state

b. Ap = Artist's Proof

c. BL = Before Letters, sometimes written in full "pf. bef. letters"

d. Col-d aquatint / litho / line engraving etc = Coloured aquatint etc

e. Eng = engraving

f. Lp, Litho = Lithograph print

g. Rp = Remarque/Remark proof

h. fd/frd, fr extra = framed, frame extra

i. pf = proof

j. Vell = Vellum

For information relating to date ranges and stock numbers within each volume, please refer to the associated descriptions (NGA27/1/4/1-7).

Record type Series

Your list will only be saved temporarily. Inactivity of more than an hour could result in the loss of your list. If you would like to keep a record of your list, we suggest you email it to yourself.

Your list of records will be sent to us if you request an appointment, and a summary will be included in your appointment email notification.