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Old Master prints

An etching of a trapezium horse conch, <em>Pleuroploca trapezium </em>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

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.

The principal single-artist old master groups now in the Royal Collection are:

Albrecht Dürer and other early Germans: 336 prints (RCIN 800000-800335)

Jacques Callot: 1330 prints (RCIN 800336-701665)

Wenceslaus Hollar: 3716 prints (RCIN 801666-805381)

Stefano della Bella: 800 prints (RCIN 805382-806181)

Israel Silvestre: 543 prints (RCIN 806182-806724)

Robert Nanteuil: 258 prints (RCIN 806725-806982)

Giovanni Battista Piranesi: 15 albums as published, in original bindings (RCIN 806983-806997)

Salvator Rosa: 182 prints (RCIN 80700-807181)

Claude Mellan: 291 prints (RCIN 807182-807472)

Guido Reni: 154 prints (RCIN 807560-807713)

Canaletto: 45 prints, being a full set of his etched output (RCIN 807790-807834)

David Teniers I-II (after): 388 prints (RCIN 820000-820387)

Antoine Watteau (after): 162 prints (RCIN 820400-820561)

In addition there are around 400 miscellaneous German, Dutch and Flemish prints and 700 Italian engravings loose in portfolios (RCIN 808000-808378, 830218-830912), and many fine early prints from the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo and in the Prince Consort's Raphael Collection.

There are also large groups of earlier English prints by or after:

William Hogarth: 1187 prints (RCIN 811300-812487)

Thomas Rowlandson: 1000 prints (RCIN 810000-810999)

James Sayers: 192 prints (RCIN 811000-811191)

Captain William Baillie: 168 prints (RCIN 813740-813907)

Sir Joshua Reynolds: 1526 prints (RCIN 640000-641525)

The Dighton family: 303 prints (RCIN 814000-814302)

Sir Edwin Landseer: 409 prints (RCIN 815000-815408)

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

The Fall of the Giants

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)


Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)


Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)


Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)


Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)

The Nativity

Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

‘The Bishop’s Tomb’

James Barry (1741-1806)

The Conversion of Polemon