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Old Master prints

An etching of a trapezium horse conch, Pleuroploca trapezium Linnaeus, 1758 [Fasciolariidae; Abbott & Dance p. 182]. Indo-Pacific, to 150 mm. Copied in Buonanni, 2.III.287, reversed with the addition of a shadow; this in turn copied in Lister, IV.14.1

Trapezium horse conch (Pleuroploca trapezium L.) ©

The Royal Collection is not particularly strong in the works of the master European printmakers, and there has never been a sustained attempt to assemble a comprehensive collection in this field. Nonetheless, a few individual printmakers (mainly English, such as William Hogarth, or with predominantly English careers, such as Wenceslaus Hollar) have been collected over a prolonged period with the aim of forming complete collections of their works; and the purchase en bloc of major collections by earlier monarchs, such as those of Consul Joseph Smith and Cardinal Alessandro Albani by George III, both in 1762, resulted in the almost accidental acquisition of significant groups of Italian, French and German old master prints.

In addition there are around 400 miscellaneous German, Dutch and Flemish prints and 700 Italian engravings loose in portfolios, and many fine early prints from the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo and in the Prince Consort's Raphael Collection.

Bartolomeo Coriolano (c.1599-c.1676) after Guido Reni (1575–1642)

The Fall of the Giants

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Shell

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Shell

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Shell

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Shell

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)

The Nativity

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

‘The Bishop’s Tomb’

James Barry (1741-1806)

The Conversion of Polemon