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Arthur J. Stock, unpublished guide to the National Gallery Collection ('The Story of the ...

[c 1930]


Arthur J. Stock, unpublished guide to the National Gallery Collection ('The Story of the Picture')


[c 1930]

Archive reference number



Typescript draft, with manuscript corrections and annotations, of 'The Story of the Picture' written by Arthur J. Stock, in which he explains the meaning and tells the history of selected principal pictures in the National Gallery's collection. The typescript includes a title page, preface, an index, and a photograph of the picture intended for the frontispiece [inv NG8]. In addition it contains loose leaves entitled 'Greta Garbo as tragic muse' and 'Ghosts at the National Gallery'. The main text is divided up into the various schools of painting, as follows, and each picture mentioned has its inventory number inserted in the margin alongside the relevant passage:
Pages 3-49C: British Artists
Pages 50-67: French School
Pages 68-83: Flemish School
Pages 84-93: German School
Pages 94-105: Dutch School
Pages 106-225: Venetian and Italian School
Pages 226-234: Spanish Artists

Record type


Alternative reference numbers


Administrative history

Arthur James Stock (1871-1953) was born in Havant, Hampshire. On 5 April 1900 he was appointed Assistant Porter at the National Gallery, a position he held until his promotion to Attendant in June 1908. He later became an assistant Head Attendant, a role he occuplied until November 1935. He was awarded the Imperial Service Medal on his retirement in 1936. To augment his pension, because he abhored 'the thought of being idle', he asked the Director if he could be reappointed on the temporary staff 'to lightly clean the surface of the pictures', but Civil Service rules prohibited the Director from acceeding to his request [see letters on NG16/203/9]. In 1940 Stock moved to Guildford, Surrey. He died on 5 June 1953.

Stock had intended his book to be published and sold by the National Gallery. In August 1930, he sent it to Charles Collins Baker, Keeper at the National Gallery, 1914-1932, in the hope that it would be recommended to the Board of Trustees; however, correspondence between Collins Baker and Lord Crawford suggests that they thought it unlikely that the book would be given permission by the Director or Trustees to be sold at the National Gallery [ref. NG26/22/4, letters dated Aug-Sep 1930]. In January 1955, his widow, Kathleen Stock (nee Bishop), offered to send the manuscript to the director Sir Philip Hendy for his opinion, describing it as 'the outcome of his long hours of watching and study'. Hendy thought it unlikely that it would find a publisher, not least because the majority of English pictures had been transferred to Tate Gallery by this date, ten galleries were still closed meaning that fewer pictures were on exhibition, and some pictures' attributions and titles had changed in the intervening years. Kathleen Stock then offered to donate the manuscript to the Gallery's library 'just for reference' as 'nothing would give me more pleasure than to feel it was there for all time' [ref. NG16/290/140].

Custodial history

The typescript was donated to the Library by Kathleen M. Stock in 1955; it was transferred to the National Gallery Archive at an unknown date.

Related material

NG26/22/4 Trustees' correspondence: Lord Crawford and Balcarres (27th Earl), 16 Jan 1929-15 Dec 1930

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