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National Gallery Library

The library was established in 1870 with the purchase of the private library of some 2,000 volumes belonging to the late Sir Charles Eastlake, the first Director of the National Gallery.

It now contains around 100,000 printed volumes relevant to the study of the history of paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the early 20th century

The library's holdings include:

  • Monographs, catalogues raisonnés, exhibition catalogues, and pamphlets
  • Works on iconography
  • Permanent collection catalogues from museums and galleries throughout the world
  • A fine collection of publications relating to private collections in this country and abroad
  • A significant collection of early guidebooks
  • A strong collection of early source works consisting of approximately 2,000 titles published before 1850
  • Catalogues of picture sales from major auction houses and reasonably complete runs of the catalogues of certain commercial dealers
  • Over 250 periodical titles, of which 150 are current.

The library catalogue is available online.

Making an appointment

Please contact the Research Centre about making an appointment to consult library material.