The National Portrait Gallery's Collected Archives comprises archive material that has been acquired by the Gallery from external sources because of its relevance to the study of British portraiture. The papers document the existence and provenance of portraits in external collections. They may also relate to portraits in the Gallery's own Collection. Visitors may consult these resources in the Archive and Library Public Study Room, but must make a booking to do so.
The Collected Archives include the following types of material:
- artists papers including diaries, account books, studio ledgers, sitter books and correspondence
- papers of art historians in the field of British portraiture
- correspondence of artists and their sitters
- albums of autographs assembled by collectors
Notable collections include papers and manuscripts relating to:
- Sir William Beechey, Painter, 1753–1839
- Howard (Sydney Musgrave) Coster, Photographer, 1885–1959
- Philip Alexius de László, Portrait Painter,1869–1937
- Dr Kenneth Garlick, Art Historian, 1916-2009
- Richard Jeffree, Art Historian, died 1993
- George Romney, Portrait Painter, 1743–1802
- Francis Owen (‘Frank’) Salisbury, Painter, 1874–1962
- George Frederic Watts, Painter and Sculptor,1817–1904
A more complete handlist of Collected Archives held by the Gallery is available.
The Archive is currently embarked upon a major cataloguing programme. As part of this work, all archive material will be recatalogued according to international standards and made available online.
For the time being, access to the Collected Archives is via Archive staff.
Please note that although these papers are generally available for public consultation, some information in them, such as personal data, may be restricted under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Handlist of Collected Archives
Learn more about Collected Archives
Correspondence & papers of Philip de László
The Watts Collection
Selected archive documents relating to Primary Collection portraits