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Engraved Royal Portraits

Elizabeth I ©

The 'Engraved Royal Portrait' (ERP) series contains over 22,000 prints, in all techniques. As most of the prints reproduce painted portraits, they constitute a comprehensive survey of the portraiture of the monarchies of European nations. The ERP series has been added to continuously over the last three centuries, and the resulting collection is now the largest group of works on paper in the Royal Collection.

The ERPs are arranged by nationally, dynasty, and sitter over the course of 66 volumes and 30 portfolios, housed in the Print Room at Windsor Castle. The largest single section, numbering over 7,000 prints, contains British monarchs from the early Anglo-Saxon kings and legendary Scottish rulers through to Queen Elizabeth II, spanning five centuries of printmaking. The majority of the ERPs were bound into large volumes in the early twentieth century under the librarian Sir John Fortescue; many others which were subsequently added or not bound into volumes have remained in portfolios. The structure of the series is as follows (in some cases several prints in a series are catalogued under a single RCIN, accounting for apparent discrepancies between numbers and RCIN ranges):

Britain: c.7,200 prints in 28 volumes (RCIN 600001­­-606404, 618083-618350, plus five portfolios with an additional c.550 prints)

Spain: c.700 prints in two volumes (RCIN 606405-607096)

Germany: c.6,000 prints in 13 volumes (RCIN 607100-612351)

Holy Roman Empire: c.2,000 prints in four volumes (RCIN 612352-614179)

Russia: c.500 prints in two volumes (RCIN 614180-614647)

Italy: c.700 prints in two volumes (RCIN 614648-615205)

France: c.3,250 prints in 10 volumes (RCIN 615206-618082)

Roman Emperors: c.55 prints in one portfolio (RCIN 618352-618410)

Ottoman Turks: c.300 prints in one portfolio (RCIN 618411-618641)

Greece: c.200 prints in one portfolio (RCIN 618642-618842)

Africa and the Americas: c.300 prints in one portfolio (RCIN 618843-619158)

Popes and Cardinals: c.450 prints in two portfolios (RCIN 619159-619503)

Sweden: c.450 prints in two portfolios (RCIN 619506-619918)

An ongoing project is dedicated to cataloguing these prints more fully online; almost all the prints now have images online, and text records for the whole British series will have been enhanced by mid-2015.

Crispijn de Passe (1564–1637) after Isaac Oliver (1565–1617)

Elizabeth I (proof and finished states)

Abraham Blooteling (1634–90) after Sir Peter Lely (1618–80)

Charles II

Samuel Reynolds (1773–1835) after Matthew Wyatt (1777–1862

George III (proof and finished states)