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Prints and Drawings

Key Facts

  • Size: 3,800 images
  • Coverage: Oxford city and University and county
  • Date range: 1620s-2000s (bulk: 1700—1899)
Blenheim House, Woodstock, Oxfordshire

Background

The prints and drawings collection is dominated by views of the City and University of Oxford, and features distant views or panoramas, as well street scenes and studies of individual buildings.

The stately homes and landscape of the county of Oxfordshire are not neglected, though, and include the likes of Blenheim Park, Broughton Castle and Nuneham Courtenay.

Topographical views were originally presented in several ways – as illustrations to a growing number of antiquarian histories and guides, published in periodicals like the Gentleman’s Magazine, or for sale as loose prints to residents and visitors.

Although only affordable by the few, prints were the predecessors of the photographs and postcards that became popular from the second half of the 19th century. Our collection includes examples of most print-making techniques: woodcuts, copper plate engravings, etchings, aquatints, lithographs, steel-plate engravings.

Rycote Park, Thame, Oxfordshire

Where else can I go?

The Bodleian Library holds a great many topographical views of Oxford and Oxfordshire. Views can be found in the collections of these and other antiquaries:

  • John Chessell Buckler (1793-1894)
  • Richard Gough (1735-1809)
  • Henry Hinton (1749-1816)
  • James Hunt (1795-1857)
  • Henry Minn (1870-1961)
  • Charles Francis Wyatt (1820-1906)

Some Bodleian catalogues are available online.

Oxfordshire History Centre holds microfilm copies of some Buckler, Gough and Minn material.

Hampton Gay Manor, Oxfordshire

Outstanding Engravers

Key names in the history of Oxfordshire topographical print-making.

Photographers

Alfred Beesley Collection

Prints and drawings from Alfred Beesley’s extra-illustrated History of Banbury.

Photographers