A location register of the papers of artists, designers and craftspeople held in publicly accessible collections in the United Kingdom and Ireland
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Nationality and status do not form part of the criteria for inclusion; papers must be in publicly accessible collections in the United Kingdom.
The papers of architects and photographers are not sought out, though an architects papers may be noted where they relate to interior or furniture design, and a photographer where his work is not purely fashion photography.
manuscript and archival material, such as:
The material may have been produced or collected by the artists themselves or may have originated from family, friends, dealers, patrons, associates, art historians, curators, galleries or critics.
The database has been constructed with reference to various national and international archive and related standards, and to printed sources. For references see Standards and sources.
Follow these links for help with specific kinds of search:
Artist name search
Artist type search
Searching operates by a direct character-by-character match. The wildcard * may be used to replace elements of a word, or the central element of a string of text.
Enter one word of surname only, as entering Surname, Forename may cause no hits.
To find an individual artist quickly, enter the first few letters of the artist's surname or last name:
e.g. Rusk for Ruskin; Eps for Epstein; Kau for Kauffmann.
To improve the success of searches, bear in mind the following:
The names in the database have been constructed according to NCA rules. This means that:
Double-barrelled (compound) surnames are entered under the last element:
e.g. Jones, Sir Edward Coley
Burne-Jones, Sir Edward Coley
Names using van, de, la etc are entered under the last element unless there is no separation between the article and name:
e.g. Havilland, Sir Geoffrey
de Havilland, Sir Geoffrey
Motte, William de la
Holders of a title of nobility are entered under their surname, not under the title:
e.g. Walpole, Horatio, 4th Earl of
Orford, Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of
We have attempted to address most of these issues by inserting alternative name forms, but this may not be comprehensive.
To search for alternative names, aliases or maiden names:
Enter the alias name:
e.g. Phiz for Hablot Knight Browne
Enter the alternative name:
e.g. Crees for Paul Braddon
Enter the maiden name:
e.g. Paterson for Helen Allingham
If a name can be spelt in more than one way, and you are unsure of the correct spelling for your artist, use * to replace the uncertain characters:
e.g. for Clerk or Clark enter Cl*rk in the search box (n.b. searching for Clark will also find Clarke).
To find an organisation quickly, enter the first few letters of the organisation's first name:
e.g. Mint for Mintons Ltd;Morr for Morris & Co ;
enter a significant word from the organisations name:
e.g. Benevolent for Artists Annuity & Benevolent Fund; Newlyn for Newlyn School
To bring up a list of limited companies, use the abbreviation ltd. This will only list companies with Ltd in their name:
eg: ltd will find A Leete & Co Ltd, Abbeydale New Bone China Ltd, Abbott & Co Ltd ... and many others.
Return to main search form
The Artists' Papers Register does not exist as a repository holding archival material; it is a register of the locations of such material. Every repository will hold papers relating to one or more artists or organisations; every artist or organisation will have papers located in one or more repository.
Searching by location will reveal all the papers in a single repository, regardless of which artist they relate to.
Searching by location can be done in two ways:
Click on the initial letter of the repository required, to reveal an alphabetical list of all repositories whose name begins with that letter. To select a specific repository, click on its name. It is not possible to search the Register by name of location:
e.g. to search for material held at the National Gallery, click N
Select the region required from the drop down menu, then click Show repositories to reveal a list of all repositories with relevant material in that region.
E.g. to find which repositories in Yorkshire hold relevant papers:
In each case, repositories are listed alphabetically by name.
Click on the name of the repository at the top of the screen: this will display useful information about the repository, such as contact details and opening times, through a link to Archon.
Select an artist from the list by clicking on the name: this will display details of the artist and a list of repositories holding papers on the artist.
Return to Location search form
This search uses a controlled vocabulary of terms, mostly taken from the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT). Every artist or organisation in the Artists Papers Register should have been assigned at least one controlled term. These terms are related to artistic interests only; for searching for non-artistic activity, see Keyword search.
To search by artist type, click on the initial letter of the term you wish to use; scroll down the list until you find the term, then click on it. This will display a list of artists to whom the term has been assigned.
We have tried to follow the principle of specificity, using vague terms such as "artist" only when no more specific activity can be identified.
E.g. Eric Gill can be found by searches using any of the following artist type terms: SCULPTOR, DRAUGHTSMAN, TYPOGRAPHER, STONECARVER, PRINT ENGRAVER and WAR ARTIST.
E.g. Heals & Son Ltd can be found by searches using any of the following artist type terms: FURNISHERS, CABINETMAKERS, UPHOLSTERERS.
E.g. Royal Academy of Arts can be found by search using the following artist type term: ART ACADEMIES.
Return to Artist type search form
Use the KEYWORD SEARCH to look for a particular subject which might appear in the record description of an artist or art-related organisation, e.g. a person, a recipient of letters, an organisation or the name of a painting, book or art movement.
Note that a search for diary will only retrieve records where that word has actually been used. Because the level of recording on the Artists' Papers Register is at collection level and not item level, not all archival collections of papers containing diaries will be retrieved. Many record entries simply state 'Papers' or 'Correspondence': these collections may contain diaries, sketches or designs, but are not recorded individually on the Register. However, where there is only a single item, such as a ledger or notebook, these will have been recorded and are consequently retrievable using this search.
Enter a single word or phrase
e.g. a search for sketchbook will retrieve all records containing that word; a search for William Morris will retrieve all records where he is mentioned, as the subject of the record or the recipient of letters.
The record search is a free text search.
Return to main search form
Use the BIOGRAPHY SEARCH to look for further information about the artist, where known, not limited to their artistic interest, but including information such as birth, education, career, or in the case of an organisation, establishment, products and history.
E.g. to find Clark, Kenneth Mackenzie, Baron
from artist type, search for: art critics or art historians;
from biography, search for: broadcaster
To find Lovatts Potteries Ltd
from artist type, search for: potteries or pottery companies
from biography, search for: langley ware
The biography search is a free text search.
Return to main search form